Dixie prevails over Cedar in showdown between top 2 Region 9 teams

Zab Santana of Cedar is flanked by Dixie defenders Ethan Bennett and CJ Schultz, Dixie at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — In Tuesday night’s showdown between Region 9’s top two boys basketball teams, the Dixie Flyers prevailed over Cedar High School, 69-60.

Dixie at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Down by seven at halftime, the Reds managed to get as close as three points at one point in the third quarter, only to see the Flyers pull ahead by double digits before the period ended.

Dixie went on to win by nine points as the Flyers improved their record to 15-2 overall and 9-0 in region play. Cedar fell to 12-5 overall, 6-3 in region with the loss, but the Reds remain in second place in the Region 9 standings.

Dixie guard CJ Schultz, who scored seven of his 12 points during the critical third quarter, said he was merely fulfilling his role in providing a spark off the bench.

“My job is to just bring energy,” Schultz told reporters after the game. “I just got to come off, play hard and do my thing.”

Cedar’s comeback efforts were thwarted by the Flyer defense, which forced several turnovers in the second half.

“That’s part of our defensive philosophy,” Schultz added. “We work hard. So it doesn’t matter how much we’re up, we’re going to keep working and we need to get stops.”

Dixie head coach Tyler Roberts said his team still has much to work on.

Treyton Tebbs of Cedar makes a 3-pointer from the corner to briefly cut Dixie’s lead to three points, Dixie at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 28, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I don’t care about wins or losses right now. I care about getting better,” Roberts said. “Our record doesn’t mean anything to me, honestly. We’re taking one game at a time, and we have to get better. We’re going to learn a lot from that game. I just told the guys, I said, ‘That’s not acceptable. We let them score too many points. We’re supposed to be the best defensive team in 4A right now.’”

Roberts was quick to acknowledge the offensive efforts of Cedar guards Treyton Tebbs and Zab Santana, who made multiple shots for the Reds during a late rally down the stretch. Tebbs scored 15 of his team-high 17 points on five 3-pointers in the second half, while Santana scored seven of his nine points after halftime.

“You have to credit Cedar,” Roberts said. “They played good. They’re well coached, and they’re playing very good right now. We’re lucky to come up here and win at their place, which has been hard over the years to come up here and play. It’s a tough place to play.”

Cedar played without the services of starting center Dallin Grant, who missed the game due to illness. Grant’s absence was clearly felt on both ends of the floor, but Cedar head coach Mark Esplin said that was not an excuse for losing the game.

“There’s no excuses, you know. It’s next man up,” Esplin said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately for us, Dallin Grant, he’s home with about a 102 degree temperature, and he couldn’t go tonight. So it’s next guy up, no excuses. They beat us. It doesn’t matter who we put on the floor. They won.”

“They did some things and executed when they needed to extend their lead out,” Esplin said of the Flyers. “But you know, it’s what happens. It’s part of the game. Some days, it doesn’t go your way.” 

Dixie was led by Isaac Finlinson’s 17 points, while Ethan Bennett added 16.

Cedar, meanwhile was paced by Tebbs’ 17 points, with Gaige Savage adding 14 and Luke Armstrong and Landon Barney each contributing 10 points. 

Dixie next plays at home Thursday night against Crimson Cliffs, while Cedar hosts Desert Hills that same evening. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.

In other action Tuesday night, Pine View beat Crimson Cliffs 68-48, Desert Hills outlasted Hurricane 59-52 and Canyon View picked up its first region win with a 68-58 home win over Snow Canyon. Check back on St. George News on Friday for the Region 9 Recap with more coverage of this week’s games.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!