ST. GEORGE — There was no doubt who was going to shoot the last shot of the game and there’s a good reason for that. Quincy Mathews is money.
The Desert Hills senior grabbed a rebound with 7.9 seconds left, drove the length of the floor and pulled up for a 16-foot jumper that swished through as time expired to propel the Thunder to a 56-54 win at Dixie Wednesday night.
“Honestly, there wasn’t really a designed play,” Mathews said. “Coach just said to give the ball to me and have me take it down the court. No designed play, it was just a jump shot and luckily it went in.”
Everyone in the gym knew Mathews was going to take the shot and Dixie had two defenders in his grill. But the savvy Mathews rose above them and delivered a pure jumper.
“He’s earned the right to take those kinds of shots through his hard work and dedication to his craft,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “He’s confident. He’s the guy we want with the ball in that situation and he made a tremendous shot.”
Dixie’s Tyler Bennett, who had a tremendous game, went to the line with the Flyers down 54-53 after getting fouled near the sideline with 7.9 seconds left. Bennett made the first free throw to tie the game, but the second caromed off to the right into the waiting arms of Mathews. No one else touched the ball in the final eight seconds and Mathews nearly lost it while dribbling in the forecourt.
“It scared me a little,” Mathews said. “I lost it and I thought he was going to steal it. Then I got my handle back and was able to pull up. I thought I was going to get all the way to the hoop but someone filled the hole up. But I think I would have run out of time if I had gone all the way in.”
It seemed like Desert Hills dominated most of the game, and the Thunder did, in fact, lead for the first 25 minutes after opening the contest with a 7-0 run. But with just over seven minutes left in the game, the Flyers finally tied it up at 40-40. Dixie didn’t get its first lead until five minutes later and the Flyers biggest advantage was two points.
But it was tied at 50-50 with 30 seconds left, setting up the close finish and Mathews’ heroics.
Bennett, who had 21 points, kept the Flyers in the game in the first three quarters. RJ Wilgar came to the rescue in the fourth, hitting a pair of 3-pointers from deep. Wilgar finished the game with 16 points, including a total of three treys. Jake Hawes had a quiet night for Dixie, scoring 7 points, well below his 20 ppg average.
“Both sides hit some tough shots in this game,” said Desert Hills center Austin Adams. “It was a great game. Everyone did their parts. We just trusted each other and got the job done.”
Adams ended the game with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Max Mills contributed 10 points, including two first quarter 3-pointers.
With the win, Desert Hills goes to 2-0 in region play, 5-2 overall. The Thunder have three games this weekend at the Coach Walk Classic. Thursday they play Manti at 6:45 p.m. at Burns Arena at Dixie State. Friday, DH plays Woods Cross at 6:45 also at Burns. Saturday DH battles Viewmont at 1:30 p.m. at the Thunderdome.
Dixie is also playing in the Coach Walk Classic. The Flyers, 1-1 and 5-2, play Viewmont at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at DSU and North Sevier Saturday at 3:15 p.m. at DSU’s Old Gymnasium.
Stats: Box Score DHS (DHHS)-121714
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