The Pahranagat Valley High girls basketball team played sharp defense and used an opportunistic offense to rout Tonopah, 54-29 in the league tournament

Pahranagat’s Kimberly Lewis looks for a shot over a player from Beatty in the league tournament semifinals. (Dave Maxwell photo)

The Pahranagat Valley High girls basketball team played sharp defense and used an opportunistic offense to rout Tonopah, 54-29 in the league tournament final at Sunrise Mountain last Saturday. Both the Panthers (23-4) and Muckers advance to this week’s state tournament in Reno.

It was a rematch of the 2013 league championship, which the Panther girls also won.

PVHS, in winning their sixth straight Southern League title, forced turnovers on each of the Muckers’ first six possessions of the game and never trailed.

After the Panthers took a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, Tonopah never pulled within single digits, thanks in large part to a pressing defense that never seemed to let the Muckers get set.

Tonopah was just 13 of 45 from the field (28.9 percent) and committed 33 turnovers. Pahranagat Valley scored 25 points off Tonopah turnovers.

“We’ve been working really hard on defense,” PV coach Amy Huntsman said. “A lot of times when you play good defense, that’s your first offense. We like to push the ball. We’ve got some speed this year.”

Traci Strong had 18 points, and Kimberly Lewis scored 17 for Pahranagat Valley. Bailee Hosier added 10 points, and 5-foot-6-inch senior forward Kennedy Huntsman grabbed 15 rebounds for the Panthers.

“She usually gets pretty good position, but these last couple weeks she and I have talked about this being the end,” coach Huntsman said of her daughter. “She’s decided that she’s not just going to let things happen. She’s going to make things happen.”

Julia Klapper and Sydney Gray each had 10 points for Tonopah.

On Friday night, in the semi-final game at Chaparral High, Lewis had 21 points and eight rebounds as the top-seeded Panthers cruised by the Beatty Hornets 52-32.

After falling behind 5-2 midway through the first quarter, the Panthers used an 11-2 run to take control. Then made an 11-3 run in the second quarter to push PVHS to a 24-10 halftime lead.

Coming out of the halftime break, Lewis and Jamie Hansen led yet a third charge,  scoring Pahranagat Valley’s first eight points of the second half and giving the Panthers a 32-14 lead midway through the third quarter. The lead grew to 22 by the middle of the fourth quarter, as the Panthers’ tenacious defense and transition game was too much for Beatty (8-8). Bailee Hosier chipped in with 12 points for the Panthers.

Denise Gonzalez led Beatty with 14 points, and teammate Christina Thompson scored nine.

Pahranagat, as the No. 1 seed from the South will play the No. 2 seed from the North, Pyramid Lake (22-2) at Wooster High in Reno this Friday at 3 p.m. Pahranagat and Pyramid Lake have not played each other since Dec. 2008.

Tonopah (12-9), the No. 2 seed from the South will play defending state champion Eureka (27-2) at Wooster High at 6:20 p.m. The same teams played in last years’ semifinals as well.

Winners move to the state championship game at the Lawlor Events Center Saturday night at 6 p.m.