ST. GEORGE – After an emotionally-charged comeback Friday night, the Dixie Flyers could not sustain the momentum Saturday morning as they suffered their first loss to the undefeated Spanish Fork Dons, 59-49 in the Hangar.
Dixie held its own through three quarters, maintaining a slight edge, 36-34. A 3-pointer by Dixie’s Jake Christiansen put the Flyers up 41-39 just two minutes into the fourth. That would be their last lead. The Dons went on a 20-8 run over the game’s last six minutes.
After the Don’s man-to-man offense got them some quick buckets, the Flyers were forced to foul. Spanish Fork hit 10 of 12 free throws to maintain or extend the lead.
“After we got down, we took some ill-advised shots,” said Cuff. “Their guard play was exceptional at the end, taking time off the clock and getting the ball into their big mens’ hands in great spots.”
The Flyers jumped out early in the game but could never extend the lead beyond five points.
“Our game plan was to play hard-nose, in-your-face defense,” said Dons head coach Jesse Roberts. “We did not have any specific plans to key on any one individual, because Dixie has the rare luxury of a team full of shooters. We had to close out on every one of them.”
Spanish Fork held a height advantage at every position. The Dons’ 6-foot-8 center, Taylor Parker, led all scorers with 17 points.
“Their height advantage did not adversely affect us,” Cuff said. “It was an adjustment to be made for sure, but what hurt us most was our 24 turnovers. In a tightly-contested game like this, possessions are precious.”
Also scoring in double-figures for Spanish Fork was forward Connor Andersson with 11 points. The Flyers were led by Jake Hawes with 16 points. Point guard R.J. Wilgar had 11. Christiansen had nine points on three 3-pointers.
The Flyers, 4-1, suffered their first loss, but get time to regroup before traveling to Hurricane in Region 9 action this Wednesday night at 7.
The Dons remain undefeated (4-0), but will only have seven hours to prepare for Canyon View in Cedar City.
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