ST. GEORGE – The Dixie Flyers pulled a quick one on everyone in attendance Wednesday, starting and playing mostly bench players in a 50-32 rout of Hurricane.
After a close loss to Snow Canyon last week, the Flyers were looking for a way to stay motivated and get some younger players experience in anticipation of their match-up with the Tigers. Coach Ryan Cuff discovered a way to accomplish both this week during the team’s practices. Essentially, Cuff would let his players decide who would start against Hurricane.
“We had a challenge yesterday in practice,” Cuff said. “We try to give our starters time together in practice as far as playing together and getting a rhythm so that can carry over to games. The [bench players] gave them a challenge and said let’s go the best out of three and if we beat you we get to play and start tomorrow. They beat them two out of three. I was fine with that because I thought that would step up our intensity.”
And so the Flyers started the game with a lineup that had everyone scratching their heads. But the experiment worked.
Dixie jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back as guys like Chris Pierce and Harrison Labrum made the most of their playing time. Pierce recorded six points and was the game’s leading scorer at halftime, while Labrum scored four points in a first half that saw the usual starters on the sideline.
“Our team is not just one player or any five players,” Pierce said. “It’s every single one of us. From the first man on the floor to the last man on the bench, we’re a team together. Every single one of us comes to practice and battles every day. We’re all ready to step up when we’re called upon.”
The usual starters watched as their teammates picked Hurricane apart and were anxious to get in and contribute. Kyler Smith scored five points in limited minutes and Blake Barney led all scorers with nine points.
“It makes you a lot more hungry and more humble,” Barney said of coming off the bench. “When you get into the game, you have to go as hard as you can for as long as you can until you get pulled out. Then you catch your breath and go back in and play 100 percent. You can’t take any plays off.”
Garet Cahoon and Adam Massey scored six points each for Hurricane, which falls to 0-7 in region play. The Tigers host Pine View on Friday.
The Flyers improve to 4-3 in the region and travel to the Thunderdome on Friday to take on Desert Hills.
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