ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State women’s basketball team came off of a bad loss the night before and started the night off Saturday with a win, 77-72. That was followed by the men’s team losing a close game 80-79 in overtime. Both teams played Colorado School of Mines.
Coming off of a blowout loss to University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, head coach JD Gustin was quick to say his team looked lethargic Friday. They played with no effort or intensity, and Gustin was not happy.
The Trailblazers (9-4, 4-3 in conference) looked like a completely different team on Saturday night. That energy, effort and intensity was there and it showed.
“Super exciting,” Gustin said of his team’s performance. “I just told them, I’ve been doing this for a while now and from what we experienced last night to being able to comeback and beat a really good team, I couldn’t be prouder of my team.”
They ended the first quarter up 10 points, and went into the half up 3. Colorado School of Mines then went up by 7 with 8:02 left in the game. This is when the team’s character showed.
“We don’t want to think about yesterday but when we came out today, coach said it’s a character game,” Ali Franks said. “We got the chance to prove how we’re going to respond and good teams respond.”
They did just that, coming back to take the lead and then get the win. The biggest thing for this team is consistency. They should not have to be beat by 27 to show how good they can play.
“We’re trying to be more consistent,” Gustin said. “We have to find some other things that we can hang our hat on. I think this is going to help us move forward doing that.”
The Trailblazers got a big 27-point performance out of Ali Franks, but London Pavlica also came up big. She ended the game one rebound shy of a triple-double.
“I don’t care, I turned it over too much,” Pavlica said jokingly. “I didn’t even know, I just go out there and I play with my team. That’s great to hear. I could not do it without my team.”
Gustin said that is something they expect out of Pavlica. To average a triple-double is a lot, but that sort of effort is what Gustin is looking for. He also brought up her ability to rebound as a point guard. Pavlica said it’s heart over height, and she showed that on Saturday night.
“It was fun, we had one goal and it was to have fun tonight,” Franks said. “I think when you have fun, the game just comes easy. When you have a smile on your face, you enjoy every time the ball is in your hands. That’s what happened tonight versus what happened last night.”
The Trailblazers are on the road next week against Metro State-Denver and Chadron State.
The men’s team knew they were going to get a fight out of Colorado School of Mines. The Orediggers lost to Westminster on Friday and were coming into Saturday’s game looking to get at least one win out of their road trip.
A win was what Mines got, but it took an overtime struggle to give the Trailblazers (11-2, 6-1 in conference) their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference loss of the season.
“I thought it was a good game,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “Both teams played really hard. We kind of knew that going into the game that we were both favored to be in the top two spots. If you would’ve told me the game would have gone into overtime and a team would win on a last-second shot, I would have believed you. I thought we outplayed them, but they’re smart. They’re good, they play hard, they execute and they made big plays late in the game when we didn’t.”
DSU was up by 8 with 10:49 left in the first half, but Mines clawed back into the game before the half. The Trailblazers led by one going into the locker room. Guard Jack Pagenkopf led all scorers with 15 at the break.
In the second half, Mines switched their defenses and found some success in their zone defense. Dixie had the same struggles against UCCS on Friday night. Their offense got stagnant at times, and Mines took advantage.
At the end of regulation, Mines hit a big three-point shot that took the game into overtime. Overtime went back and forth until Dason Youngblood missed two free throws to give Mines the ball back down one. They then went down the floor and converted on a bucket in the paint to take a one-point lead.
“Up one, getting fouled, go to the foul line, that’s what you dream of,” Judkins said after the game. “We didn’t and they made a great play at the end.”
On the final play of the game, the Trailblazers couldn’t get a good look at a basket and Mines came away with the road win.
“I think we were really solid offensively, we just broke down sometimes on defense and those killed us,” Pagenkopf said. “They converted on almost every single one of them. We turned the ball over a little bit and I think they got like 21 points off of that. That killed us.”
It was no doubt a tough loss, and Pagenkopf acknowledged that they should have won, but the game will act as a learning experience.
“It happens, and it’s a good team,” Judkins said. “We lost to a good team and they’re going to beat a lot of guys. We just have to bounce back and realize that this one stings a little bit, but it’s a long season. We’ll get better.”
The Trailblazers are on the road next week at Metro State-Denver and Chadron State.
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