PAYSON — In a classic duel Friday night, Dixie’s Tyler Bennett and Payson’s Dallin Jasperson were determined to not let their respective teams lose.
Bennett had 27 points and scored six of his team’s final seven points, while Jasperson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the last minute to give the Lions a chance at the end.
A Bennett basket with 1:25 left put the Flyers ahead 44-42. After a Payson miss, Bennett was fouled on the rebound and made both free throws to put the Dixie lead at 46-42 with 1:03 to play.
Jasperson didn’t waste any time cutting the lead to one. His 3-pointer with 46 seconds left made it 46-45. A Bennett jumper at the other end pushed the lead back to three at 48-45 and, after another Payson miss, Izaic Blazzard hit one of two free throws to make it 49-45 with 23.5 left.
Again, Jasperson struck, hitting a deep 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left to make it 49-48. The Flyers then threw the ball away, setting the Lions up with one last shot. After a brief timeout, Payson found Jasperson, who cast a trey attempt as the clock expired. The high-arching shot was just short, bouncing off the front rim and giving the victory to Dixie.
The Flyers advance to the quarterfinals of State, but may be without the services of guard RJ Wilgar, who was carried off the court in the second quarter. The senior appeared to have a knee injury. The situation will be evaluated when Dixie returns to St. George.
Dixie will play Thursday afternoon in the state quarterfinals and will battle Bear River, which beat Union 57-47 Friday night. Game time for the Flyers and Bears is 2:30 p.m.
Richfield 55, Cedar 38
The offensive well went dry in the second half for the Redmen, who managed just 12 points after halftime in the big loss.
Trailing just 31-26 at intermission, Cedar watched helplessly as Richfield opened the second half with eight straight points. Keenan Nielson briefly stopped the run with a 3-pointer for the Redmen to cut it to 39-29 with 3:19 to go in the third. Tanner Jensen matched it with a 3 of his own to push the lead to 42-29 and Cedar would never get closer than 10 the rest of the game.
Nielson led Cedar with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. But Richfield got 15 points each from Brandon Willardson and Matt Griffin.
The Wildcats, 13-7, move onto the quarterfinals of the 3A State Tournament next Thursday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. They will play Ben Lomond at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Stats: RHS 55, CHS 38
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