ST. GEORGE — Future opponents of Dixie High take note: Late-game fouling doesn’t work against the Flyers.
Dixie made 22 of 25 free throws in fourth quarter, scoring all of its points in the period from the line, and beat Salem Hills 70-55 Thursday night in the first round of the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State’s Burns Arena.
“I guess (Salem Hills) was trying to make a point or just turn it into a free throw shooting contest,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that, where all the points in the whole quarter came from the line. I’m just glad we got it going and hit most of them.”
The game had gotten a little chippy, with the Flyers dominating at both ends. Dixie had turned it into a blowout early, and by the first moments of the second quarter, it was 25-7. With Jake Hawes and R.J. Wilgar leading the way, the Flyers pushed it 34-12 with 1:55 to go in the first half.
The Skyhawks went on a 9-0 run to close the half, making it 34-21 at intermission. But Dixie quashed any thoughts of a comeback by dominating the first four minutes of the third quarter to push the lead back to 19 at 43-24. After a Salem Hills bucket, Sam Guymon upped it to a 20-point edge with a 3-pointer, making it 46-26. That was the last field goal of the game for Dixie.
Over the game’s final 11 minutes, the Flyers competed in a glorified free throw shooting contest. Jake Christiansen hit three freebies to close out the quarter at 49-29, then Dixie hit 88 percent on 25 attempts in the final stanza to hold on for the win.
All-totaled, the Flyers finished 33 of 45 from the line (73 percent). Dixie had five 3-pointers (15 points), 11 two-pointers (22 points) and those 33 made free throws.
“It was a strange game, but we wanted to come out and share the ball and play together as a team, especially after last night’s loss,” Harrison Labrum said. “We were happy that we had a game today to get the bitter taste of our loss out of our mouths.”
Guymon, one of the few seniors on Dixie, said his team lacked intensity against the Tigers, something they made up for vs. Salem Hills.
“I didn’t sleep too well after that game last night,” he said. “We talked about what can happen after a loss like that. Region 9 has a lot of good teams and Hurricane played well against us. But we needed to come out stronger today and I think we did that.”
Dixie, 5-2, plays two games Friday, a 10 a.m. battle with Manti and then an 8:30 p.m. game vs. Payson in the second day of the Red Rock Rumble at DSU. Salem Hills, 2-3, battles Desert Hills at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Skyhawks shot 18 free throws in the game and made 7.
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