Dixie boys basketball wins state title thanks to the ‘fly fam’

ST. GEORGE — In 2016, the Dixie High School boys basketball team won the Class 3A state title, the program’s first state title in 46 years. That drought was much shorter this time around as the Flyers took down No. 1 Sky View to cap off a 23-3 season with another state title.

Dixie vs Sky View at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 29, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

What was impressive about the Flyers was the way they came together as a team, their balance and their depth as a whole.

They may have had their bigger contributors, but head coach Tyler Roberts consistently went 10 deep on the bench and sometimes went even deeper. They were not just made up of a couple of good players, but rather a full roster of players that contributed.

Roberts referred to it all year as the “fly fam.”

“The biggest thing was, we came together as a family,” Roberts said after winning the state championship. “We bought in, it’s called the ‘fly fam,’ and that’s who we are. It’s a bunch of individuals coming together for a team and for a family.”

Isaac Finlinson, the team’s leading scorer on the year, echoed the same sentiment after the win when asked to describe the win.

“Probably one word would be family,” Finlinson said. “It’s awesome. We love each other, we hang out with each other every day and we’re all best friends.”

That friendship and bond off the court showed on the court as well.

Dixie vs Sky View at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 29, 2020 | Photo by Jeff RIchards, St. George News

The Flyers had that next man up mentality. When Juan Diego did a good job denying Finlinson the ball in the semifinals, Ethan Bennett stepped up and had a monster 18-point performance to help grab a berth into the finals. When the title game came along, Finlinson and Noah Lemke played great while Jeff Cox stepped up in a big way to add seven points and four rebounds.

For Sky View, the story was not the same. When they played Hurricane in the quarterfinals, the Tigers got Mason Falslev in foul trouble and it had a big effect on the game. The Flyers did the same thing with Falslev, fouling out in the fourth quarter and it benefitted the Flyers. When Falslev was out of the game, Sky View struggled to find scoring elsewhere.

Falslev may have had 22 points, but the next highest scorer for Sky View only had eight points. No other player scored in double figures.

“We lose a person and we still figure out how to get it done,” Jordan Matthews said.

Dixie vs Sky View at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 29, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

In the semifinals, the Flyers allowed Juan Diego to sneak back into the game and they got a good look at what would have been a game-winning three. The Flyers had been in that position before. They had pulled out close games throughout the season, and it was nothing new for them. Roberts called it toughness.

“It’s called being ready for the moment,” Roberts said. “I told all of our guys, our bench is so deep sometimes I play 10 or 11 guys. I don’t know who I’m going to call on. Always be ready and be in the game, so even though they are bench players, they know they are just as much a part of it as every single one of our guys.”

The Flyers were ready for that moment in the state championship game, and they returned to St. George with their second state title in the last five years.

“It’s the greatest feeling to know we have a whole city behind us and a crowd here to support us,” Noah Lemke said.

While the Flyers are losing a solid senior class, including Matthews and Lemke, they are returning three of their top six scorers. That includes Isaac Finlinson, the top scorer in Region 9, Ethan Bennett and Jeff Cox. Add in Carson Forsey, who played in almost every game for the Flyers, and you have a formidable returning group.

Dixie boys basketball is in a good spot right now but nothing is guaranteed in Region 9. One thing that is guaranteed is that the idea of the fly fam will remain a mainstay going forward for the Flyers.

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

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