The Dixie State University men’s basketball teams’ goal became reality as it won the Pacific West Conference Championship.
At the beginning of the season, the whole team sat down and discussed what its main goal would be. In the end, every player and coach wanted the same thing. The Storm wanted to be PacWest Conference champions.
That goal was reached and Dixie State was crowned as the first ever PacWest champion on March 9.
The Red Storm suffered a loss in the first round of the West Region opening. Sophomore guard DeQuan Thompson, a communication major from Las Vegas, led the team with 16 points. They were pleased with the win in the PacWest.
“It was just such a good feeling,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “Everyone involved has been working so hard to get to this moment.”
The Red Storm’s position as conference champions was not a done deal from the beginning, and they knew everyone on the team would have to work hard to win.
The first hurdle the team had to overcome was facing Brigham Young University-Hawaii. BYU-H was the only loss at home the Red Storm had all season.
“We were so excited about the rematch,” Thompson said.
Dixie was down the first half but rallied back in the second to get the win.
“We went into the locker room down,” Judkins said. “When we came back, everyone just calmed down and focused on the task at hand.”
The Storm opened the second half on a 16-6 run and took back the lead with big plays from junior center Steven Larson and sophomore center Zach Robinson.
The Red Storm moved on to the final round and beat Chaminade University by 12 the following night.
“The hardest part for the boys was playing two games back to back,” Judkins said.
Red Storm key players stood out to coaches and to PacWest league members.
Larson was selected as MVP of the tournament. Senior guard McKay Massey and Robinson were selected to the all-tournament team.
All three players were selected by the PacWest league and were chosen from tough competitors.
“It is really hard to pick them,” Judkins said. “We are glad that so many of our boys were selected.”
Next season the team is going to do what they did this year, Judkins said. It worked this season and he believes it will work again. Johnson and the returning players trust their coach and look forward to the upcoming season.
“We will come back strong next year,” Judkins said. “We always do.”