It was a fairly close game at the end of three quarters, but Virgin Valley got hot and blitzed Pahranagat Valley in the fourth to take a 57-46 win last week in Alamo.
Hogan Fowles and Zach Barnum led the way, both getting most of their points in that final period. Fowles had 17 and Barnum 12 for the game, with Marcus Sanders scoring 10.
“We decided to get after them a bit more defensively,” said Virgin Valley coach
Sean FitzSimons. “Raise the tempo, dictate the pace of the game more in our favor.”
Division 1-A Virgin Valley (9-6) made it very difficult for Panther center Culen Highbe, collapsing their zone defense to have him nearly surrounded whenever the ball was passed inside and limited him to just four points. “That was an adjustment we made at halftime,” FitzSimon said, “When he gets the ball anywhere in the key, we’re going to collapse on him”
Cody Williams was the only Panther in double figures with 15 points.
Pahranagat coach Mike Strong said, “They increased the intensity, trapped us a bunch, especially in the corners on the bottom side and created turnovers. And they made it difficult for Culen to get the ball back out of the middle to get a look. They’re a quick ball team. Took us a bit to get used to their speed. But we played them pretty close for three quarters. Unfortunately it didn’t end up close down the stretch. They had another gear that we didn’t have, and they hit some big shots.”
Pahranagat has beaten Virgin Valley only once since 2009, a 53-51 win in Alamo in 2012.
Nevertheless, this was a good game, Strong thought, one to get the team prepared for the run through the league season and into the six-team playoffs.
The Panthers (10-6, 2-1) got back into league play last night with a game against front runner Adelson. This Saturday, the boys travel to Beatty, then Word of Life on Jan. 26.
Of the Panthers final eight games of the regular season, only two are at home.