It’s a fun, but also nervous time, when the regular season league championship comes down to the last game between first-place teams. So it was this past Wednesday when Pahranagat Valley, on an 18-game winning streak, met rival Spring Mountain, with a 12-game winning streak, at Indian Springs High School.
The winner is this year’s regular season champ, but both teams will advance to the league tournament and first round byes to the semifinals Feb. 16-17 at Basic High in Henderson.
Pahranagat Valley won the league tournament over Spring Mountain last year, after finishing second behind the Eagles in the regular season. However, Spring Mountain has won six of the last seven meetings between the teams. And both teams have a strong possibility of meeting again in the tournament finals.
Last week, on Friday, at Beatty, Stockton Maxwell had a game high of 12 points in a 51-28 win over the Hornets, but Culen Highbe was right behind with 11, followed by Daniel Castillo and Maldenado, both with five. Beatty had only one free throw attempt.
Strong said the boys, “played well that game and shot the ball well. We had a 17-2 lead after the first quarter. Beatty often had three or four players guarding Highbe, so we put him out front at the wing. He’s probably going to play in a stretch four offense at Snow College next year, so [we] wanted to give him a little bit of time out there, and this game allowed us to do that. He’s one of our better perimeter shooters and it helps to stretch the defense out.”
Back home, on Saturday afternoon against Sandy Valley, Pahranagat broke loose from a 20-14 tight first quarter to outscore the Sidewinders 18-2 in the second quarter. That gave the Panthers a 38-16 halftime lead and they never had to look over their shoulder in cruising to a 62-30 win.
Highbe had 18 points and nine rebounds. Richard Lewis added eight points, and Ramiro Solano-Sanchez had 10 points to lead the Sidewinders.
The Panthers will celebrate senior night tonight and conclude the league season against Indian Springs and high-scoring Dallin Davis (25.2 points per game).
The boys close out the regular season this Saturday, traveling to Ely for a non-league meeting with the White Pine Bobcats (6-15). Pahranagat is 16-1 in the series with the Bobcats since 2005, including the last three.