HURRICANE — The stats were telling. The score was a sure sign. But the smiles on the faces of the Hurricane Tigers players told the real story. The streak is over.
Austen Beatty made the go-ahead free throw with 42 seconds left and Hurricane survived a couple of good looks late by Dixie to win its first game in 375 days, 54-53 over the Flyers Wednesday night at the new Tigers Den.
“Heck yeah — best night I’ve had in a while — love winning! Student section you guys rocked tonight,” Tweeted Tigers point guard Erik Mitchell after extracting himself from the mosh pit that the HHS gymnasium became after the win.
It was a nip and tuck affair, with neither team leading by more than six points the entire game. Hurricane’s biggest lead came late in the first quarter after Cody Lebaron hit a pair of free throws, making it 11-5 with just over a minute left in the period.
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Dixie scored the final eight points of the third quarter to turn a 34-30 deficit into a 38-34 advantage going into the final stanza. The Flyers still held a 46-43 advantage with under four minutes to play, but a trey by James Bennion tied the score, followed by a pair of free throws by Mitchell Vaifanua, putting Hurricane ahead 48-46. After a Dixie miss, LeBaron made it 50-46 on a driving layup.
Dixie stayed in it on a bucket by Harrison Labrum, then Izaic Blazzard made it 50-49 with a free throw with 2:23 left. Hurricane countered with a freebie by Beattie, making it 51-49, but seconds later Sam Guymon tied the game at 51-51 on a basket in the post.
Again Beatty drew a foul, this time nailing both ends to make it 53-51 for the Tigers with 1:21 to go. Dixie tied it with under a minute to go on a basket by Jake Hawes, but Beatty again drew a foul. The junior forward missed the first free throw, but buried the second one for the 54-43 lead.
Dixie got open looks by Tyler Bennett and Guymon in the closing seconds, but neither would go and Jayce Housley cleared the final rebound for the victory.
The Tigers improved to 1-5 with the win, but more importantly, up their region record to 1-1 going into the Christmas break.
Beatty led Hurricane with 12 points, while Kaden Langston chipped in 10 points. Langston also dished out three assists and had five rebounds. Hurricane plays in the Red Rock Rumble Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Dixie State. Thursday and Friday, the Tigers play at 3:15 p.m. at Burns Arena (vs. Manti and North Sevier, respectively) and Saturday Hurricane is at DSU’s Old Gymnasium to battle Mountain Crest at 11:45 a.m.
Dixie, which fell to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in region, was led by Guymon’s 19 points and R.J. Wilgar’s 15. The Flyers also play in the Red Rock Rumble, Thursday vs. Salem Hills at 6:45 p.m., Friday vs. Manti at 10 a.m. and Saturday vs. North Sevier at 6:45 p.m.
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