ST. GEORGE — In a game that was never really in doubt, but not truly out of hand until the latter stages, the Dixie High Lady Flyers ran into a “wrecking ball” in the form of the Cedar High Lady Reds and came out on the short end of a 39-17 demolition.
Even after being shut out in the third quarter, the Flyers were still within hailing distance of the visitors, trailing 25-9. But there would be no stirring comeback, as the Lady Reds gave no quarter on their way to victory.
“The school of hard knocks is very painful at times and we ran into a wrecking ball tonight,” Dixie head coach Ryan Forsey texted St. George News. “We knew Cedar would be hungry after two close losses last week and we were not ready for it. That’s on me as a coach.”
Cedar lost to Hurricane Jan. 18 on a last-second layup, just two days after a gut-wrenching loss to Pine View. In that game, the Lady Reds led by five points with less than 15 seconds left in regulation but allowed a buzzer-beating putback of a missed shot to tie the game before losing in overtime.
Cedar coach Corry Nielsen said he was concerned about the effect the bitter losses may have had on his team.
“I was afraid the two defeats would have a hangover effect, so we talked a lot about them,” he said. “We talked and talked, and I told them you can’t play backwards, the only thing you can control is the future.”
And that’s what they did against Dixie, controlling the offensive boards and getting easy baskets off of defensive pressure.
“The girls played hard and executed the game plan,” he said.
Dixie took an early lead thanks to Sina Tapasa’s short jumper in the lane and her nifty inside pass to Breezie Fakatoumafi, who was fouled and made one of two free throws to put the Flyers up 3-2 about halfway through the first quarter. Tapasa led Dixie in scoring with 9 points, hitting 3 of 5 shots from the field and 3 of 6 from the line.
However, the Lady Reds closed the quarter on an 8-0 run. Logann Laws had half those points on a pair of layups, one of which came off a steal and a hard push up the court. Laws was the game’s high scorer with 12, while Japrix Weaver added 10.
Cedar continued the run in the second quarter, scoring the first 10 points and holding Dixie without a point until Tapasa hit a runner seven feet from the basket with less than two minutes left in the half.
Dream Weaver got the Lady Reds started in the quarter by hitting a three-pointer, which was soon followed Carley Davis’ triple. Japrix Weaver then took over, hitting a layup off another steal and later adding a pair of free throws.
But Dixie had a run of its own to close out the quarter. After Tapasa’s runner, Joslyn Bundy was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit 2 of the 3 free throws. She then stole the ball and fed Tapasa for a jump shot from the foul line that pulled the Flyers within 20-9 heading into the locker room.
Both teams contributed to an ugly third quarter that was chock full of fouls, turnovers and missed shots. Although Dixie failed to score in the quarter, Cedar was unable to take advantage, scoring just 5 points of its own.
However, the Lady Reds gradually pulled away in the fourth quarter.
One of the problems for Dixie was that Cedar’s full-court man defense made it difficult for the Flyers, especially without their primary ball handler Sina Schwalger, who didn’t play. Forsey, however, said that was no excuse and his team “just wilted.”
“As a young team, we have to learn from this,” he said. “Going into the bye week, it will be a good time to evaluate players and our program. It will be interesting to see how we respond for the second half of the region schedule.”
Nielsen said he expects a competitive second half of the season, but is looking forward to his team playing four of its six remaining games at home.
After Thursday’s bye, Dixie returns to action Jan. 30 at Pine View, while Cedar hosts Desert Hills on Thursday.
In other region games Tuesday, Desert Hills and Hurricane both won.
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