TAYLORSVILLE — Sky View knew Dixie would make a run.
They’d watched film of Dixie in a region game only three nights earlier, and in that game it followed up a sluggish first half with a great third quarter en route to the victory.
When Dixie put a similar run on his team early in the third quarter of Monday's inaugural Martin Luther King Tournament at SLCC, Sky View coach Kirk Hillyard wasn’t surprised. What stood out was how his team responded.
After falling behind by three late in the third quarter, Sky View responded with a 17-0 run over an eight-minute span as it pulled away for the easy 52-37 victory.
“We kind of anticipated they’d come out strong and they did. But then our kids buckled down defensively and came out and did a good job,” said Hillyard. “Our kids picked it up on defense a little bit, and we quit turning the ball over and we rebounded.”
Sky View led 27-21 at the half, but Dixie opened the third on a 13-4 run to pull ahead 34-31 with under two minutes remaining in the quarter.
It was all Bobcats after that. They regained a 35-34 lead by the end of the quarter and then scored 13 straight points to start the fourth. Dixie didn’t score its first points of the fourth quarter until only 2:27 remained in the game.
“I think our defense really helped out on that. Just making plays, getting up in them and getting steals and fast breaks,” said Sky View’s Mason Falslev.
One of the key sequences occurred midway through the fourth quarter with Sky View leading 39-34. Payton Lee picked the pocket of a Dixie guard and midcourt and took it the other way converting the three-point play to stretch the lead to 42-34.
Lee finished the game with 13 points, with Braden Radford leading Sky View with 14 points.
Monday’s inaugural Martin Luther King Tournament presented a unique opportunity for two ranked 4A teams from opposite ends of the state to play each other in January, just over a month from the state tournament.
That’s what Hillyard tried to convey to his team, “state tournament atmosphere, you’re playing at weird times, you don’t have to sit through a sophomore and JV game first.” Plus he told them it’s a lot better than practice.
“We were looking forward to seeing other teams than ones in our valley,” said Falslev.
Carson Bottema led Dixie with 13 points in the loss.