ST. GEORGE — The Trailblazers finished their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference home double header with games against Regis University. The women’s started the night with a slow start and were unable to comeback, losing 77-68. The men’s team capped off the night with a 20-point blowout victory over Regis, playing a complete 40 minutes.
The Trailblazers women’s team had won eight of their last nine games going into Saturday nights contest. They were also on a four-game winning streak and have been playing well as of late.
Against Regis, they came out to a slow start, down seven heading into the locker room at halftime. They dug themselves a hole early and could not come back despite a late push.
“We started out slow again so I was disappointed in that because we were really slow last night, but I was proud of the way we got it going,” head coach JD Gustin said. “Regis played a tremendous game, again I think we got another team’s best night. We were just a little short tonight.”
Dixie State (12-5, 7-4 in conference) has come up with some good wins this season, but they’ve also lost to three teams they should have beat. Gustin summarized it as disappointing.
“To lose three games in this league to teams that just aren’t as good, it’s just simply disappointing,” Gustin said. “We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to be better on both ends.”
The highlight on the night for the Trailblazers was Ali Franks scoring her 1,000th point in the program. She is only the fourth player in program history to reach the mark.
“She’s a cornerstone, she’s a foundational piece, she’s somebody that when we first started and brought her in we told her there was a chance that she could do something no one else could do in the program as long as I’m here,” Gustin said of the senior. “It’s super special, she’s an awesome kid.”
As for the rebound process, the Trailblazers have to prepare for another tough weekend ahead as they welcome in the top team in the conference, Colorado Mesa, on Friday and Western Colorado on Saturday.
“You’ve got to start up Monday with a clean slate,” Gustin said. “We’ll just go back to the drawing board and dial up a nice plan for them.”
The Trailblazers (14-3, 9-2 in conference) completed their weekend sweep on Saturday with a 20-point win against Regis. They played a complete 40-minute game and it showed with the final score. Hunter Schofield led the Trailblazers with 17 points while Jack Pagenkopf and Dason Youngblood had 14 points and 10 points respectively.
“It was night and day with the energy,” Trailblazers head coach Jon Judkins said. “Then sharing the ball, playing together and seeing three guys in double figures that just tells me we were sharing the ball. I was happy with it.”
Dixie jumped out to a 13-point lead at halftime and never looked back. Their defense played well, only allowing 53 points, while their offense found it’s rhythm.
The Trailblazers had 17 points on 19 caused turnovers which only fueled their offense more. Another thing Judkins talked about after the game was their ball movement offensively. The ball did not stick to one side of the court, they went from one side to the other on almost every possession.
“When we move the ball side to side it really opens up the court,” Judkins said. “We’ve got to use the entire 50 feet. Every time we moved from one side to the other, we got something good.”
Youngblood, a player who has been known to score for the Trailblazers, found other ways to impact the game for his team. He led the Trailblazers with nine rebounds on the night.
“It’s just a fun way to impact the game, if you’re not doing other things well you can always rebound,” Younglood said. “You can always hustle, so I took pride in rebounding. Last game I only had two rebounds.”
Another thing that stood out for the Trailblazers was their contributions off the bench. One player in particular, Jacob Nicolds, stood out among the rest. He didn’t tally a point on the game and his name wasn’t one that stood out postgame but if you looked closely, he was doing all of the little things.
Nicolds was a player that was not getting much time towards the beginning of the season. On Saturday night, he played 19 minutes. He has found his way into the rotation by posting and sealing hard down low, setting good screens and making the right plays.
“The reason why he’s playing is he’s working hard in practice and when he gets his chance in the game he’s doing the things that we need him to do,” Judkins said of Nicolds. “Sometimes you get guys in for one minute or two minutes and they kind of have that body language, that hurts them more than they know. Jacob has never done that. He got his chance and he took it.”
Judkins harped on the importance of winning their home games in conference play. The travel schedule is rough and if you can’t capitalize on your home court it could be a rough year.
“We just want to keep our home court,” Youngblood said. “It’s really fun playing in front of our fans and it’s a great atmosphere.”
The Trailblazers are back at home next weekend as they take on Colorado Mesa and Western Colorado at Burns Arena.
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