Boys Basketball Schedule

Dixie handles Hurricane with 60-49 win

By: Stephen Vincent December 11, 2014

HURRICANE – A year ago, Dixie stumbled against Hurricane in a pre-Christmas game — a setback from which the Flyers never recovered.

Wednesday night, Dixie made sure history did not repeat itself.

Behind 19 points from Jake Hawes and Nate Crockett’s timely 3-pointers, Dixie defeated a scrappy Hurricane team, 60-49, in the Region 9 opener for both teams.

The Tigers made sure the win didn’t come easy. Every time Dixie looked poised to put the game away, Hurricane made a play.

Hurricane scored on four of its first six possessions in the fourth quarter to cut a 10-point Dixie lead in half.

But Hawes answered with a free throw on one possession, and then getting a putback on his own miss the next time down the court to put Dixie up 51-43 with 2:42 left.

Tyler Bennett then hit a pair of free throws and scored on a driving layup to get Dixie’s lead back to 10 with 1:34 left. But true to form, Hurricane didn’t relent. Tyson Yardley hit a 3-pointer from the left angle to give Hurricane life.

But free throws from Malachi Otis and Izaic Blazzard’s 3-point play finally finished off Hurricane.

“I’m proud of the way our guys played in the fourth quarter,” said Dixie coach Ryan Cuff. “To be coachable enough to slow it down, to get to the basket and to get to the foul line. It’s always nice to come into this place and pull out a win.”

Although the Tigers lost, they impressed the Flyers.

“(James) Bennion’s a special player; the (Austen) Beatty kid played really well,” said Cuff of the Tigers’ stars Wednesday night. “We didn’t have an answer for him. We wish the best for (injured Tiger Kaden) Langston who is a special player. You can tell they miss him, but as they work hard without him, they’ll be that much better when he returns.”

The Flyer coaches emphasized getting to the basket at halftime.

On the first possession, Hawes scored a driving reverse lay-up. But then the Flyers spent the next few minutes trying unsuccessfully to shoot over the top of the Tigers’ 2-3 zone.

When the Flyers did score, it came when they were able to break the Tigers’ press and get the ball into Hawes’ hands.

Hawes’ most memorable bucket came in the third quarter when he rose above a Tiger defender and slammed the ball home.

“I’ve had all the fans and the little kids watch me dunk during warmups, and they always say to me, ‘Jake, you’ve got to do it during the game,’” Hawes said. “This is the first time I’ve done it in a region game.”

But it was Crockett who turned a tight game into a double-digit lead.

A lay-up and two 3-pointers in the final five minutes of the quarter staked Dixie to a 41-31 lead after three quarters.

“That’s what we expect from Nate,” Cuff said. “We’d almost rather him shoot a three than shoot a lay-up because he’s that pure of a shooter.”

Hawes finished with 19, and Bennett and R.J. Wilgar added 13 each. Bennion and Beatty had 17 and 14 points, respectively, for Hurricane.