Isaiah Pope and the Dixie State Trailblazers went 1-1 this past week with a thrilling come-from-behind win at CBU. Courtesy Breanna Biorato/Visually Breanna.

A Weekend The Dixie State Trailblazers Can Build On

Both the Dixie State Trailblazers Men’s and Women’s teams had weekends that fans can be proud of. The men had a huge comeback win in Riverside and another record-setting night from Hunter Schofield on Saturday. Meanwhile, the women played three games in five days, picked up a win and almost upset the WAC’s 2021 NCAA Tournament representative. Both squads set themselves on great paths to compete the rest of this 2021-22 season. 

The Felluhs

Wednesday night’s contest between former Division II  PacWest foes was an instant classic. Cameron Gooden’s regular scoring production returned in a huge way, as the junior guard scored 26 points. The career-high night was capped off by a huge corner three, late in the game to close the Trailblazer deficit to one. The triple set up a game-winning, and-1 bucket for Isaiah Pope that sealed the improbably comeback. Hunter Schofield logged his second double-double of the season with a 16-10 performance. It was very much a “Team win”, as Dixie State saw four players with double-digit nights. 

In Seattle, on Saturday night the turnover monster reared its nasty head as the Trailblazers turned the ball over 19 times. Other than that it was a productive night for Dixie State who shot 45 percent from the floor. Despite the 11-point loss, it was a night to celebrate for senior Hunter Schofield, whose 25-point, 8-rebound night put him in the 1000-400 club. Schofield is just the eighth Trailblazer to reach 1000 points in their career. The weekend split set Dixie State on a good path as they head into, respectfully, the easiest part of their schedule.

Key Takeaways

  • Gooden and Schofield returned to form following a few slower games. The offense follows the production of the squad’s leading scorers and it showed this weekend.
  • Head Coach Jon Judkin’s fluid starting five may have solidified. The second guard in the rotation had been a previous question but the recent oncoming of sophomore guard Isaiah Pope has given Judkins a solid 2 guard that can score and rebound.

The Lady Trailblazers

A 1-2 weekend usually wouldn’t be a step in the right direction. However, the Trailblazers were right in all three contests. Thursday night’s matchup with CBU saw three Dixie State players end the night in double-digits. Shanaijah Davison, who was making her season debut, led the team with 20 points. Breaunna Gillen finished with 17 and Emily Isaacson had 11. The Lancers ran away late and downed Dixie State 88-60. 

A huge offensive afternoon on Saturday against Seattle U brought the Dixie State program its first home conference win of the Division I era. Davison had another 20-point performance along with 7 assists and 4 rebounds while Gillen poured in another 18. Freshman Macie Warren and senior Brooke Vance were also in double digits. Coming out of the half, Dixie State trailed the Red Hawks 40-31. A 26-point third quarter led by Vance who hit three huge 3-pointers, gave the Trailblazers the lead and they never looked back as they came away with a 75-69 victory.

On Monday, playing their third game in five days, the Trailblazers welcomed Utah Valley. The matchup was the first installment of the women’s side of the Old Hammer Rivalry. It looked like the Wolverines were going to run away with the game, carrying a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter. With 9 seconds left, the once down 17 Trailblazers, closed the gap to one on an Emily Isaacson three but could not complete the comeback, losing 68-65. Isaacson led the team with 19 points. Gillen and Davison again had great outings as both scored 16. 

The Dixie State women continue to trend upward. A team that did not even play a full season last year continues to gain momentum and build on their youth.

Key Takeaways

  • Davison is the piece that the Trailblazers needed. When freshman Maddie Warren went down with a season-ending knee injury, there was a gap at point guard. Davison, a Long Beach State transfer, filled that gap. Averaging 18.7 in just three games she has taken a bit of the load off of Isaacson and Gillen.
  • Dixie State can beat anyone on any given night. Plain and simple, when you take on the Trailblazers it is no automatic win.
  • Depth is hard to beat. The big three of Davison, Gillen, and Isaacson cause problems but it is the role players who really make DSU tough. Freshman Macie Warren and Avery Papa, who have broken into the starting lineup, are contributing huge minutes. While veterans, Brooke Vance and Maggie McCord are producing meaningful time off the bench.

Both squads are on the way up. Last season the men only had 8 total wins. With Wednesday’s victory, they have tied that total and will no doubt see more wins come their way. Schofield continues to leave his mark in his final collegiate season and along with Gooden has brought life back into the Trailblazer offense. On the women’s side, this is the year that the Division I expectation is made. Each outing sees new positives that head coach JD Gustin can build his program’s culture around. The record might not show it, but this MLK Weekend was one that Dixie State can build on.

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Dallas Clifford

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