ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Flyers seemed to do it all Friday night against Tooele as they won in blowout fashion, 74-51. From when the game started to when the final buzzer sounded, Dixie was in control both offensively and defensively.
“Definitely a team win, that’s the thing that stands out to me,” head coach Tyler Roberts said. “Offensively, I feel like we’re doing fine but defensively we just have to continue to get better.”
One big thing that stood out from the game was the Flyers’ ability to advance the ball up the court in transition. It caused problems for Tooele and Dixie’s guards were able to convert in transition or find the open man.
When the ball is moved up the court that quickly, it’s hard for defenses to matchup, and then the Flyers can make decisions from there.
“It’s just one of those things that I feel like in transition it’s hard to locate guys, especially when we have good guards and a big that can run the floor,” Roberts said. “By spacing the floor and pushing it I think it gives us an advantage in transition. I’ll take transition threes, I’m not old school.”
They were also able to cause turnovers in both the half court and full court. They played a soft full-court pressure, but unlike other presses it’s not geared to be an intense, trapping defense. They want to force the other team to get sped up, thus making bad decisions and causing turnovers.
The term used in basketball is token. The defenders are there, but they aren’t pressuring you. They want to make a decision based off what the other team does.
“We’re just holding our ground, trying to have them make a mistake and and the we’ll react to how they react first,” Roberts said.
It’s clear that the Flyers can put the ball in the basket. Isaac Finnlinson and Jordan Matthews had 14 and 17 points respectively on the night, and they are two of the top scorers in the region to start the season. Add in Noah Lemke, who had some highlight reel dunks, and some more solid contributors in Ethan Bennett, Carson Forsey and Andy Rich to name a few, the Flyers have an even roster with depth off the bench.
Their biggest area of emphasis is going to be defense, according to Roberts.
“If this team buys into defense, that’s how you win games,” Roberts said. “Scoring is scoring but we have to buy into defense, we’ve got to buckle down and get stops, especially consecutive stops. Exchanging baskets isn’t going to win very many games.”
Roberts was also happy with the way his team shared the ball. The team had 17 assists on the night and continually passed up some good shots for some great shots. One play in particular, Treyce Simmons had a decent look at a layup after a pump fake. Instead of shooting the layup he kicked it to Finnlinson in the corner for a wide open three.
While it was a team win for the Flyers, Jordan Matthews had his fingerprints all over this game. He got deflections, caused turnovers, rebounded on offense and defense, scored and made the right plays throughout. They call him the swiss army knife because he just does it all.
“He’s one of those guys that gets our guys going,” Roberts said. “Being a two year starter obviously has helped him step into that role of being that leader on our team and being that defensive guy, but he just does it all. Again, he’s the type of kid that’s so unselfish. He just wants to win and whatever it takes to win.”
The Flyers take on Salem Hills Saturday afternoon. When asked about looking ahead to Tuesday’s region matchup with Cedar, Roberts was hesitant, saying they have to focus on their next game, but he did say that Cedar will be ready to play.
“We just have to come in with the same mindset we’ve had these last few games and just continue to work on defense,” Roberts said. “If we buy into that defensive end then I like our chances.”
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