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Culen Highbe scores inside. He had a season high 26 points in the win over Mountain View last week. The Panthers open league play this weekend, tonight at Round Mountain, and Saturday at Beaver Dam.

Double trouble met double trouble as the Pahranagat Valley boys basketball team eked out a 58-56 road win at Mountain View last Friday.

Twin brothers Tyrell and Terrence Brooks, both 6 feet 3 inches, had 24 points and 20 points respectively for Mountain View (6-10). The Saints also made 15 of 18 free throws.

But the Panthers (11-2) countered with 26 points from Culen Highbe, and Richard Lewis contributed more 14 points.

Highbe’s 26 points is his high point for the season, including 10 rebounds. “It was the quietest 26 points I think I have ever seen scored because Culen is not a showboat,” Coach Michael Strong said.

Pahranagat was 5 of 8 at the foul line.

Panther coach Michael Strong said this game was similar to the game with Lincoln on Dec. 19 where the team was trailing in the fourth quarter for the win. “Here we were down by seven or eight with about two minutes to go, but we rallied back using a 1-2-2 trap. We had been in a zone most of the game, but went back to the trap in the final four minutes, got a few turnovers, forced some bad shots, got a couple of big rebounds, and capitalized on our end to take the lead. We had a 64-63 lead with only a few seconds remaining. Preston Higbee was fouled in back court, made one of two free throws, but Kyler Martin got the rebound on the missed free throw and we kicked the ball back out to run out the clock.”

The Panthers outrebounded the Saints “by a decent margin, which was a big help for us,” Strong said. “The last three games we have rebounded the ball really well, better than we had been earlier in the season.”

Strong also singled out senior Asher Haworth for his fine play. “He’s put together a good string recently.”

The night before, Lewis and Highbe had a dominant effort in the Panthers’ 59-38 win over visiting Virgin Valley Jan. 4.

The 6 foot 9 inches Highbe had 17 points as the Panthers rolled past the Bulldogs and Lewis, at 6 foot 5 inches, added 16 points. PVHS jumped out to a commanding 17-7 first quarter lead and were never threatened thereafter.

Jason Brooks paced Virgin Valley with 11 points.

The Panthers played with speed and sharpness throughout the game, moving the ball well and getting inside to Lewis or Highbe, plus they had a big advantage at the foul line, going 15 for 25, and Virgin Valley was 9 of 13.

It was the first win over the Bulldogs in the last six meetings. But Virgin Valley still holds the edge in the series, now 8-2 since 2009, with Pahranagat’s only other win coming in 2012.

The Panthers now begin league play this weekend and take their eight-game winning streak on the road to Round Mountain (0-13) on Friday and Beaver Dam on Saturday.  

But after this weekend’s games the Panthers will be at home for a five-game stretch beginning Jan. 19 with Word of Life.

Both the Pahranagat Valley boys and girls teams are ranked No. 1 in the 1A Southern League by Nevada Preps.

Round Mountain, Beatty, Indian Springs, and Word of Life round out the top five for the girls.

On the boys’ side, following the Panthers in the top five are Spring Mountain, Beatty, Indian Springs, and Tonopah.