Sophomore Madison Harris and freshman Karley Whipple were the main point makers for the Panther girls.
In the first match with Beaver Dam, Harris had seven kills and four aces and Whipple added eight kills and three digs, leading the Panthers to a 25-9, 25-20, 25-11 win.
Harris, a strong hitter, said she was taking a little off the kills, “trying to be smart and use the power in my arms wisely. If I put too much on it, it goes out of bounds.”
In the finals against Beatty, the same duo was again on top, Harris with eight kills and Whipple with seven kills and two aces, to capture the tourney championship with a 25-17, 25-8, 25-10 win over the Hornets.
Beatty (11-4) had advanced to the finals with an exciting back and forth 3-2 win over Sandy Valley. Scores were 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-7. Both Beatty and PVHS advance to the state tournament this weekend in Reno.
For the Hornets, it marks their first appearance in the state tournament since 1998. Senior Maggie Cathcart said she was very happy to get the opportunity to go. “We worked really hard to get here. We were a bit intimidated at first, in the opening game with Sandy Valley, but we brought our intensity up and really worked hard and I think that’s why we won that match.”
Coach Dale Lerbakken said, “We’ve gotten in the range before, but never had a good start, not even this year. We didn’t get in on any preseason tournaments and had only one non-league game (3-0 over Big Pine, Calif.). But it’s been building the last three weeks, and now is our chance to go to state and see what we can do there. We’re excited to go, it’s been too long.”
Beatty was tired in the final two games of the championship with Pahranagat Valley and Lerbakken admitted so. “That first match, when you play five games, then have to play another match right away, their legs were tired, and I played some of the other girls I don’t play much to give everyone a break.”
The matchups at Wooster High in Reno for the first round this Friday night have Beatty against Smith Valley (28-6), and Virginia City (24-5) against Pahranagat Valley (22-8). The championship will be at Saturday 4 p.m. at Galena High.
The Panther girls have been in the state championship game the last 19 years in a row and have won it 15 times