Culen Highbe scored nine of his game high 28 points in the fourth quarter to spark Pahranagat Valley to a 46-32 win Tuesday night over a scrappy Word of Life team.
Higbee also pulled down 11 rebounds. Teammate Richard Lewis tallied 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Panthers, as they outscored Word of Life 18-9 in the fourth quarter. They were also 10 of 17 at the foul line in the game.
Isaac Lopez scored 10 points to pace Word of Life (2-12, 1-1).
The Eagles though, made it exciting late in the game, being behind by as many as seven in the final period and creating turnovers to make a run at the Panthers (14-2, 3-0).
Coach Michael Strong said, “They are such a good team, very quick and scrappy and rebound well, much like Spring Mountain. We knew they could go on a run, they’ve done that with other teams, so we were expecting it.”
He said Highbe was scoring a lot on the inside, “and I give tribute to our guards getting him the ball in the fourth quarter like they did. Culen is tough with a good touch around the basket and with Lewis nearby when those two play well, we’re pretty good.”
In games last weekend, the boys had a fairly easy time winning two on the road, first over winless Round Mountain 51-12, then 39-22 at Beaver Dam. Highbe sparked the Panthers with 16 points in Round Mountain.
Against Beaver Dam, Pahranagat rushed out to a 26-11 halftime lead, then played mostly the second string and only allowed the Diamondbacks 11 points in the second half as well. Interestingly, Pahranagat only scored one point themselves in the fourth quarter.
Highbe was credited with four dunks in the game to the enjoyment of the crowd.
Pahranagat did not play any of the seniors in the fourth quarter, and only part of the third quarter. “I played everybody,” Strong said, “and just about all of them scored. It was good for our young kids to get in there.”
Coming up this weekend, the Panther boys have two homes games. Tonight with second year league member Liberty Baptist (3-5, 0-4) and Saturday with Tonopah (7-7, 1-1).