LOGAN – The Dixie Flyers punched their ticket to the state semifinals by grinding out a tough 48-43 win over Canyon View Thursday at the Smith Spectrum.
Thursday afternoon, the game was barely two minutes old when spectators and fans could tell this game would be a different story.
“It’s the state tournament,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “Everyone’s hungrier. It’s the state tournament. I could go on and on. But everyone’s hungrier. That’s the difference.”
It was a good, ol’ fashioned dogfight from the beginning. Dixie pulled out to a four-point lead on the strength of the Elzy brothers, Kaden and Korbyn. But the Flyers also had a hard time containing the 3-point shooting of the Falcons, who were bombing away from all points.
Brantzen Blackner buried two in the first half and Toby Potter, Joey Lambeth and Perry Dettling all hit from deep as the Falcons had a two-point lead early in the second quarter. Dixie countered with a couple of inside buckets by Richard Guymon and a 3-pointer by Tanner Cuff to take a 28-23 lead at intermission.
“We knew they were a lot better than when we played them earlier this year,” DHS guard Ty Curtis said. “We just came out flat. We had a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers and uncharacteristic missed layups. All around, it wasn’t our best game, but we’ve got life still and that’s all that matters.”
Canyon View came out firing, behind Blackner, and pulled to within two a couple of times in the third quarter. But the Falcons never could quite catch Dixie after halftime. It was 38-36 at the end of the third, but Dixie quickly pushed the lead out to six behind Guymon and Kaden Elzy.
The next six minutes of game time, Canyon View would hit a shot, then Dixie would make a free throw or two. A pivotal moment late in the game came when Dixie was nursing a three-point lead and Canyon View anticipated a Dixie pass for a steal and breakaway. The layup, however, caromed out and Dixie rebounded and was fouled.
Ty Curtis made 3 of 4 free throws late in the game and Kaden Elzy hit a pair to keep the Falcons at bay.
Guymon seemed to have a bit of a quiet game – until a perusal of the stat sheet confirmed the big guy did indeed have a major impact. He ended up with nine points, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and three steals.
“He’s a beast,” Curtis said. “I love the kid so much, honestly. I’m so glad he’s on our team, rejecting shots and getting our backs when we get beat.”
Guymon was a starter on Dixie’s championship team last season and had his best outing of the year in the state championship game. He said the experience of playing in the tourney last season was invaluable.
“It’s helped our whole team because they were all a part of that last year,” Guymon said. “It’s nice to be back here and try to do it all again. We know what’s going to happen and hopefully there aren’t any surprises.”
For the first time this season, Coach Cuff had to alter his starting lineup. Kannen Dye, a defensive specialist known for shutting down the best player on the opposing team, is nursing a sore back. Korbyn Elzy got the start in his place and had an assist and a 3-pointer in the first two minutes of the game. But Dixie definitely missed the presence of Dye.
“Not having Kannen out there hurt,” Guymon said. “He’s a big part of what we do and he’s so good at guarding the other team’s best player.”
Dye spent most of the game with a heat pack on his back, but entered the contest with 24 seconds to go and Dixie holding to a four-point edge. Coach Cuff, who said it just felt like the right time to put Dye in the game, saw his chess move pay off as Dye anticipated a Canyon View pass and got a steal. He then passed to Curtis, who iced the game with free throws.
Kaden Elzy ended up as Dixie’s leading scorer with 10 points. He also had three assists and two steals. Sam Stewart had eight points and Dixie outrebounded Canyon View 33-25. The Flyers also forced 16 CV turnovers.
Dixie, 23-2, advances to the state semifinals for the third year in a row. The Flyers lost to Pine View in the state championship in 2015 and beat Juan Diego in the title game last season.
This year, the Flyers will face Juan Diego in the state 3A semis, with tip-off scheduled for 9:10 p.m. at Utah State University.
Canyon View, which falls to 14-11, will play a consolation game at 2:30 p.m. against Richfield Friday. Blackner led CV with 17 points and Joey Lambeth finished with nine.
3A STATE BOYS BASKETBALL QUARTERFINALS
Desert Hills 62, Stansbury 55
Ridgeline 67, Carbon 39
Dixie 48, Canyon View 43
Juan Diego def. Richfield
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