Wednesday’s home matchup with Dixie was nothing short of a resiliency test for Cedar.
Riding a two-game losing streak that included a disappointing showing against Canyon View last Friday, the Reds needed a boost of confidence to help push them through their last three regular-season games.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy, but Cedar managed to hold off a late Dixie charge to escape with a 51-43 victory and complete the season sweep of the Flyers.
Dustin Staggs scored a game-high 18 points and Brock Englestead added 11 as the Reds improve to 13-5 on the season, 7-2 in Region 9 and remain tied with Desert Hills for second place in the region standings.
“We were kind of down,” Englestead said of the team’s mood after losing two straight. “This (win) was huge. We didn’t play amazing tonight but we did enough to win. That means a lot just getting a W.”
The loss was the second straight for Dixie and drops the Flyers to 7-12, 4-5 respectively.
Dixie now sits alone in third place in Region 9 with three games remaining and Pine View on its heels.
The first few minutes looked as if Cedar might run away with the game as the Reds jumped to an 8-2 lead behind a pair of three-point shots from Staggs and Kordan Nielson.
The Flyers gave Cedar a little help as their struggles to control the ball led to six first-quarter turnovers.
Despite the shaky start Dixie managed to roll off five straight points including a trey from Dakota Bair to cut the lead to 8-7 before Cedar took a 13-9 advantage on a three-pointer from Englestead to close out the quarter.
The second stanza proved to be just as tough as the first with the Reds building a 19-13 lead before Dixie surged to close the frame on a 6-2 run and go into the break trailing 21-19.
Dixie came out in the second half with the same intensity in which it finished the first, catching the Reds off guard and taking a 32-25 lead.
The Flyers ran rings around the Reds’ defense as Kyler Smith scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the quarter while Cedar went nearly five minutes without a bucket.
But the Reds wouldn’t go down without a fight and somehow managed a last-minute rally that ended when Mike Hourigan’s buzzer beater put Cedar up for good 35-34.
A strong effort through three quarters took its toll and Dixie simply ran out of gas in the final period, missing its first six shots and picking up only one bucket – a three pointer from Bair with 1:35 remaining that brought the Flyers to within three points at 45-42.
But a 10-of-16 output from the foul line in the fourth quarter was enough for the Reds to hold off the Flyers and go home with the win.