It looked ugly for Dixon early in Tuesday night's match-up against state-ranked Fatima.

It looked ugly for Dixon early in Tuesday night's match-up against state-ranked Fatima.

After taking a 3-2 lead in the game's opening minute, Fatima handled its opponent with a stifling press defense, which generated a 12-1 run and a 14-4 lead.

Fatima continued to steamroll the Bulldogs into the second quarter until the Dixon offense came alive.

Head coach Mike Phillips said his Dixon squad was rattled early by Fatima's defensive pressure, but bounced back to rally when the opponent's scheme switched.

"Once [Fatima] took the press off, it felt like we could get the shot we wanted if we were patient enough," Phillips said.

In the same period, the Bulldogs netted three-pointers on three-of-four late quarter possessions and then capped an 11-4 run with senior Collin Holzer's drive for an easy bucket to get within 9 points of the opposing Comets.

Dixon made 8 treys in the first half, including 6 in the second quarter. Despite successful shooting, the Bulldogs trailed 42-35 at halftime.

A second half defensive adjustment from a full-court press to a man scheme created better match-ups for Phillips' Dixon squad.

"We tried to press early and create tempo, but gave [Fatima] some early shots," Phillips said. "Once we switched and started playing half-court man, we did a better job [defending]."

The momentous first half continued for Dixon as Holzer made a short-range floater to get within two points at 46-44 with a little more than 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.

However, Holzer left in third quarter with a head injury, leaving it up to teammates Hayden Yoakum (soph.) and Solomon Weider (sr.) to continue the rally.

Both players proved clutch. As each team traded buckets, Weider made a jumper at the elbow and Yoakum swished a three-pointer in transition to keep the game within 2 points.

But Fatima wasn't to be outdone;. The Comets ended the third period on a transition dunk and 6-0 run to reclaim a 57-49 lead.

Holzer returned in the fourth quarter and ignited a 7-1 Dixon run to get back within 2 points, 58-56 with 5:58 to play.

Again, in heave-ho fashion, Fatima outlasted Dixon in the game's final possessions by making clutch bonus free throws. The No. 6-ranked Comets defeated the Bulldogs 69-65 in what was a true barn burner.

The end score was close and proved that the Dixon squad can hang around even the toughest of teams.

"We're better than we were at the beginning of the year and everybody is filling their roles," Phillips said. "If we can shoot like we did tonight, and make a few less turnovers, I think we can play with anybody."

Phillips added that there is obviously still more to be had.

"We're tired of moral victories," the coach said. "We'd like to win one of those one of these days, we just couldn't quite pull it off."

At 11-6 overall, Dixon is scheduled to play at home against Frisco Conference rival Crocker on Friday at 6 p.m.

Scoring summary: Dixon – Hayden Yoakum, soph., 24 points; Collin Holzer, sr., 20; Solomon Weider, sr., 12; Joe Hardwick, sr., 4; Korey Burrow, soph., 3; Josh Parker, soph., 2.

Fatima – Patrick Schneiders, 21 points; no other stats submitted.

Game notes: Fatima shot 50 percent from the free throw line (10-of-20); Dixon hit 6-of-8 free throws; the teams combined for 18 three-pointers (Dixon, 11 made; Fatima 7); Fatima moved to 15-1 on the season.