Facing Lincoln County basketball Dec. 18 in Alamo “left us a bit shell-shocked at the beginning,” said Panther Coach Michael Strong. “They hit us pretty hard right away with speed and agility, and we were not quite ready for that.”
Though smaller than panthers in the wild, Lynx are, in many ways, quicker. And these Lynx jumped out to a 14-4 first-quarter lead and on to a 61-41 win over the Panthers.
Matt Hafen and Cody Zile led a second half onslaught by the Lynx, but the Panthers fought back, too, and closed within five or six points at one spot.
Hafen got hot with a three-point shot, making six in the second half to finish with 19 points.
Zile scored a game-high 22 points including 10-of-13 at the foul line. Lincoln shot 14-of-26 free throws, and Pahranagat was 6-of-12.
Stockton Maxwell was the high point for the Panthers with 19, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.
After suffering a couple of losses the week before, Lincoln Coach Sean FitzSimons said, “We needed a win, and Alamo is always a tough place to play, let alone win. We needed this one, so we challenged the kids to come here, play together, and play hard, tough man-to-man defense. Gets us ready for our league play.”
Pahranagat Valley had won the last four meetings between the teams since 2014.
Strong said, “We didn’t handle the man pressure at the beginning very well. Last year, they ran a 1-3-1 on us most of the time to take away our big guys inside, so I thought Sean would play us man-to-man this year. They did a nice job. That’s a good, very physical team.”
Strong said the team can learn from a game like this. “I learned that our kids are pretty resilient, and even after a rough first half, they started coming around. No quit in the kids, just a couple of turnovers and they [Lincoln] caught fire.”
On Dec 13, in a non-league game with the visiting Wells Leopards, Maxwell poured in a career-high 37 points, leading Pahranagat Valley to a 56-40 victory over Wells in Alamo, Dec. 13.
Vaughn Higbee holds the school record for a single game with 46 points in 1964. Cody Hosier scored 40 in one game in 2011.
Maxwell had five of the Panthers six 3-pointers. He was the only Pahranagat player in double figures. Zak Smith followed with five points.
Zane Rodriguez led Wells with 14 points, and teammate Brent Battenfield scored 11.
Pahranagat built an 18-8 first quarter lead, paced by Maxwell’s 12 points, and were never threatened after that, holding a 30-15 lead at halftime. Maxwell added 12 more points in the third quarter.
Not many foul shots were taken. Wells was 2-of-6 at the line, while the Panthers were 4-for-4.
Coach Michael Strong said he was pleased to see some of the other boys step up “like Smith and Kyler Martin. Even if they didn’t score much, they contributed greatly on defense and moved the ball around well.”
Pahranagat hosts Moapa Valley Dec. 21, then plays Lake Meade Dec. 29, and at Mineral County in Hawthorne, Jan. 4.
The Panthers’ first league game is a boys only meeting with Liberty Baptist in Alamo, Jan. 10.
Meanwhile, Lincoln County returns to league action Dec. 20-21 at Needles and Laughlin. After the holidays, they host Calvary Chapel, Jan. 8.