OGDEN — Carbon and Dixie entered Thursday’s 3A quarterfinal game with the second and third stingiest defenses in 3A, both surrendering less than 40 points per contest.
Playground rules could’ve easily been used to determine a winner — first team to 40.
Either way, the outcome was never in question as Dixie’s defense absolutely dominated Carbon en route to a 43-23 victory at the Dee Events Center.
“That’s something we’re proud of and work hard at,” said Dixie coach Ken Robinson of his team's defense.
The Flyers held Carbon to just four points in the first half and limited the Dinos to just 25 percent shooting the entire game to advance to Friday’s 3A semifinal against Region 9 foe Cedar at 12:50 p.m.
Cedar won both region meetings against Dixie by a combined 10 points, and that could favor the Flyers in the rematch Friday.
Because of a playoff loss to Juan Diego last year, Dixie played with a big chip on its shoulder in the 3A first round at Juan Diego last week and won easily, 51-39.
“We were set up in that game for the simple fact that we lost to them there on their court, and these girls wanted them again. That was a theme clear back in the early part of the season they were talking about. We didn’t know if it would be a play-in game — maybe in the tournament sometime — but those girls wanted a chance to play them again sometime,” said Robinson.
Dixie certainly wants another crack at Cedar, and with another strong defensive effort an upset is possible.
The Flyers will need to execute better offensively, though. They were shaky in their own right to start the game Thursday, leading only 6-2 after the first quarter and then 16-4 at the half.
“We were kind of nervous because of the big-game atmosphere, but after we got through the first quarter we started playing like are regular selves and we started executing and playing how we’re used to,” said Dixie’s Kelsey McCann, who finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
After shooting just 23 percent in the first half, Dixie was much more efficient in the second half shooting 47 percent.
“The thing I’m learning about these young ladies, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get them ticking, to get them excited about something. And when they do they really give you everything,” said Robinson.
Dixie’s Caroline Lantor led all scorers with 15 points and she also added six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.