Dixie and Desert Hills rolled to easy wins to cap off the Ken Robinson Classic Saturday, while Pine View captured its third straight NGS Invitational title in Page, Ariz., as local teams put their best foot forward in non-league play.
Here’s a roundup of Saturday’s action;
Ken Robinson Classic
Dixie 89, Green Valley, Nev. 73
This game was a blowout from almost the opening tip, with Region 9 preseason MVP Tyler Bennett delivering a virtuoso performance. The senior guard exploded for 28 first-half points en route to a 38-point outing to help the Flyers sprint past the Gators.
Bennett made three 3-pointers, all in the first half, and made 7 of 9 free throws in the game and was just one basket shy of a 40-point performance. He left the game with about four minutes left after missing a jumper from about 15-feet. On two previous possessions, the senior drove in the lane, but passed up a shot to dish to a teammate.
“I had no idea I had that many points,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was close to 40. But my teammates played well today, too. We were just a little disappointed in our defense. Man, we gave up 73 points. That shouldn’t happen.”
Between Bennett, Nate Crockett and Connor Dyches, Dixie made eight 3-pointers in the first half in racing to a 50-30 advantage at intermission. With the big lead and a tired opponent (Green Valley played twice on Saturday), Dixie coach Ryan Cuff slowed the tempo in the second half. The Flyers still scored 17 in the third quarter and 22 in the fourth. The Gators actually outscored Dixie 43-39 after halftime.
“We want to stay positive. We did win the game,” Cuff said. “But I was a little disappointed in our defense, especially against No. 4 (Xavier Jarvis). He went off for for something like 17 points in the fourth quarter.”
Jarvis, a 6-foot-3 senior, had 24 earlier in the day against Desert Hills and finished with 34 against the Flyers. Half of his points came in the final quarter, though the Gators never got closer than 14 in the second half.
Dyches had his best varsity game as a Flyer, scoring 17 points and nailing five 3-pointers.
“I haven’t really had much varsity experience before this, so I was a little bit nervous coming into the season,” Dyches said. “I did force a few shots in Richfield (last week), but I just came out this weekend and shot the ball, shot it with confidence.”
Dixie, which is 4-1 on the season, came out with a run-and-gun style, hoping to wear out the Green Valley players, who were playing their second game in a six-hour span.
Crockett finished with 12 points and Richard Guymon had 11, including a monster dunk in the third quarter for the Flyers. Matt Tuttle added 21 for Green Valley.
Dixie will play at home against Richfield Tuesday night, a game the Flyers have eyed since losing their season-opener to the Wildcats.
“Let’s just say that we’re looking forward to playing them again,” Cuff said.
Ken Robinson Classic
Desert Hills 76, Green Valley, Nev. 67
Marcus McKone was phenomenal, scoring 21 first-half points to lead the Thunder to the easy win in a game that started at 10:30 a.m.
McKone made four 3-pointers and also snared eight rebounds as Desert Hills raced out to a 41-26 halftime lead. Logan Hokanson also had an impressive line, scoring 12 points, dishing out seven assists and grabbing four boards.
Center Cody Fitzgerald, all 6-foot-8 of him, continues to play well in the post for the Thunder. He had 10 points and seven boards and is “improving every game,” said Hokanson.
D-Hills came out of halftime with the idea of putting the game away and the Thunder did just that, extending the lead to 64-39 by the end of the period. DH coach Wade Turley then emptied the bench in the final quarter, with 11 different Thunder players getting in the scoring column.
Desert Hills is now 5-0 heading into next week’s Coach Walker Classic, which will be played mostly at Dixie State’s Burns Arena. DH battles Manti Thursday at 5 p.m.
Pine View 69, Mingus Union (Ariz.) 48
Cody Ruesch was named tournament MVP for his role in the Panthers third straight NGS Tournament title. Ruesch, who was the MVP last season as well, had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the blowout win Saturday.
“Cody played so hard this weekend,” Pine View head coach Darrell Larsen said. “He’s an emotional kid with a lot of passion and he’s been able to channel that passion in the right direction. He was a real leader, on and off the court for us in Page.”
After a close win in the semifinals against Arbor View, Nev., the Panthers weren’t fooling around against Mingus Union (out of Cottonwood, Ariz.). The Marauders actually led 19-17 after the first eight-minute stanza. But the Panther defense clamped down in the second, allowing just three points as PV pushed out to a 34-22 lead at intermission.
The Panthers lengthened the lead to 57-35 by the end of the third quarter and the rout was on.
“We played our best game of the year so far,” Larsen said. “Mingus had a lot of good shooters, especially one kid, who you had to guard as soon as he crossed half court. But I thought we played a complete game, offense, defense both ends. It’s great to see how far we’ve come from that loss to Logan (at the 3A Preview) to the win today.”
Brandon Yates was also honored as a member of the all-tournament team. He had eight points and five rebounds Saturday and was instrumental in PV’s win over Arbor View Friday (15 points, three treys).
The Panthers are 6-1, with Ruesch leading the way with a 16.4 ppg average.
Pine View hosts the Coach Walker Classic starting Thursday night at Dixie State. PV will play Springville at 8 p.m. at Burns Arena in the first round.
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