CEDAR CITY – Dixie fans are accustomed to seeing Jake Hawes score points in abundance, but the senior put on a show Friday night against Canyon View that singlehandedly shot the Flyers into the playoffs with more steam than they could have hoped for.
Hawes scored 26 points in the first half against the Falcons en route a career-best 30 in the final regular season game of his high-school campaign as Dixie thumped Canyon View 78-48.
The win puts the Flyers at 17-5 for the season, 9-3 against Region 9 teams, leaving them in second place, a game behind region champs Pine View.
“It feels really good,” Hawes said of the end result of a night where he hit 10 of his 13 shots including five three pointers. “Sometimes it feels like you’re throwing into the ocean. My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball and I was feeling it.”
Hawes added just a little more emotion to the win by dedicating his performance to his late grandfather who would have celebrated a birthday today.
Next up for Dixie is a road game in the first round of the 3A state playoffs against either Richfield or Payson, two teams head coach Ryan Cuff said his squad is ready to face.
“Our kids have responded and played extremely well on the road all year,” Cuff said. “We know we’ve got some depth and we can play on the road. That’s huge knowing we put ourselves in this position.”
There was never any question as to who was in charge Friday as Dixie came out and and exploded in the first quarter to take a 25-10 lead.
Hawes scored the team’s first nine points, hitting each of his first six shots and had tallied 14 points before five minutes had ticked away.
“We just got out and ran the floor and got some easy buckets,” Hawes said. “We prepare like every game is big so we came out like it was a playoff game.”
Hawes’ performance nearly overshadowed a great outing from Tyler Bennett, who finished with 17 points including seven during the Flyers’ early surge.
“Coach told us to keep pushing like it was a close game, so we had to keep playing hard,” Bennett said. “It felt good and it was fun to be out there.”
With its foot firmly planted on the accelerator, Dixie never let up, leading 45-20 at the half and never letting the Falcons get closer than 20 points over the final 16 minutes.
They hit just under 58 percent of their shots and connected on 10-of-17 attempts from behind the arc.
The Flyers finished the season winning four of their final five games and push forward into the post season on the highest of notes.
“Our team has a lot of confidence after this game,” Bennett said. “We know we can do this every night.
“This does a lot for us. We didn’t play well against Snow Canyon (on Wednesday) but this game we played better. This should give us some momentum going into the tournament.”