ST. GEORGE — Getting a chance for redemption doesn’t always come along, especially in the preseason.
But Tuesday night, the Dixie Flyers took their second shot at Richfield in the past two weeks and made this one count with a 52-40 win over the Wildcats at The Hangar.
“There’s no question that we couldn’t wait to play them again,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We don’t feel like we played our game the first time up at their place. We talked a lot about it in practice yesterday. We definitely wanted to get a little revenge.”
Richfield had beaten Dixie 54-48 on Dec. 3 in the season-opener for the Flyers (it was the third game of the year for the Wildcats).
Tuesday night, Tyler Bennett scored 23 points and continued his marvelous senior season against the Wildcats. Bennett, averaging 25.5 points a game, has scored at least 22 points in five out of Dixie’s six games and has topped 30 twice this year.
“We wanted to use our defense to create offense and transition buckets,” Cuff said. “Ty’s one of the best at finishing and we just wanted to extend our defense and play in the open court.”
That defense was extremely effective in the second and third quarters. After a 16-16 draw in the first eight minutes, the Flyers stepped up the press and forced Richfield to turn the ball over. That led to easy baskets for the Flyers and a 13-5 advantage in the second, which meant a 29-21 halftime edge.
The third quarter was more of the same, with Dixie extending its lead to 41-26.
“We shot the ball well last weekend and definitely cooled off tonight,” Cuff said. “But we did a lot of other good things, especially on defense.”
James Eardley added 10 points and Richard Guymon had five points and five blocked shots.
With the vengeance, Dixie improves to 5-1 while Richfield falls to 6-2. Jaxon Hunt had 18 to lead the Wildcats.
Dixie will participate in the Coach Walker Classic this weekend, starting with a late-night game against Springville at Dixie State’s Burns Arena Friday night at 9:30 p.m.
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