DIXON – After blowing a big lead, a lot of teams would fold and watch as their opponent ran away with the win. Not the Dixon Dukes.
Dixon watched Streator erase a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, but battled the Bulldogs all the way to the end in a 64-62 Streator victory Friday night at Lancaster Gym.
“No one gave up, even after we went through that spell where we couldn’t score enough points to keep the lead,” said Dixon senior Justin Hohlen, who had 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists in his final home game. “We all really wanted this win, and we did everything we could to get it ... we just came up a little bit short.”
After a Hohlen jumper, then a 3-pointer and a three-point play by Laron Carr (18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists), the Dukes (3-21, 1-8 NIB-12 West) led 27-13 with 2:13 left before halftime. Carr scored 14 points before the break.
But the Bulldogs (8-16, 2-7) cut the deficit to eight (27-19) with a 6-0 run to close the first half, then got to within four (38-34) with 1:30 left in the third.
Dixon extended the margin back to 42-34 on two free throws apiece from Carr and Cal Jarrett (18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks).
Sparked by three straight Dixon turnovers, the Bulldogs went on a 14-0 run, with Micah Swagert (17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) scoring back-to-back buckets in the paint midway through that run to give Streator its first lead of the game.
“We picked up our defensive intensity a little bit and put ourselves into position to come back,” Streator coach Beau Doty said. “We executed our stuff, played with urgency, and made a lot of free throws down the stretch.”
Trailing 48-42 with 4:24 to play, Dixon turned to Jarrett. The sophomore scored 10 points in the game’s final 4 minutes, including a pair of three-point plays in the final minute to cut the Streator lead to one possession.
But the Bulldogs, who didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, hit 14 of 18 attempts in the final period to salt away the win.
“It’s just inexperience; these close losses will end up being wins in the future,” Dixon coach Jason Mead said. “What hurts is our two seniors, Justin and Tom [Terranova], each played awesome and did a lot of things for us tonight, and I wish the outcome would have been better for them.”
Streator 64, Dixon 62
Star of the game: Micah Swagert, Streator, scored 12 of his 17 points in the 4th quarter, 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Key performers: Cal Jarrett, Dixon, scored 12 of his 18 points in the 4th quarter, 2 blocks; Laron Carr, Dixon, scored 14 of his 18 points in the 1st half, 2 assists; Justin Hohlen, Dixon, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists; Nolan Sokol, Streator, 16 points, 4 3-pointers, 4 rebounds
Up next: Kaneland at Dixon, 6 p.m. today