In Alamo, Jan. 24, Jaiden Stuckey converted a four-point play with two seconds left to lift the Word of Life Eagles past Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) 51-50.
Stuckey finished with 26 points, and Isaac Lopez added 12 points for Word of Life (WoL).
Stockton Maxwell led Pahranagat Valley with 18 points, and teammate Preston Higbee scored 17.
PVHS hurt themselves at the foul line, making only nine of 17. WoL was a little better, making 12 of 21. The win broke the Panthers’ four-game win streak over Word of Life.
Pahranagat led, 50-47, with 11 seconds remaining and was at the foul line, but missed both free throws, and the Eagles got the rebound.
After Stuckey put Word ahead by one on his four-point play, the Panthers advanced the ball to midcourt, called a time out with .08 left, and set up a play, but the last second shot was not close.
The next night, Pahranagat Valley didn’t give Indian Springs any room to breathe in, smothering the Thunderbirds 19-1 in the first quarter.
But after that, the Panthers let up on the gas and didn’t play as well as they might have wanted. Even though they maintained the lead, Indian Spring at one point in the third quarter was fighting back and only down by 11.
But then, like a big cat that decides now is the time for the kill, the Panthers blitzed the Thunderbirds 13-2 in the final period for a 53-21 win.
Maxwell scored 17 points and Kyler Martin scored 10 points to lead Pahranagat.
Lucas Vandever scored seven points to lead the Thunderbirds.
Pahranagat (9-10, 4-1) had a critical game with defending state champion Spring Mountain (5-7, 2-1) Thursday this week and play at Sandy Valley (2-3, 1-1) this Friday.
As the month of February begins, the top 1A teams statewide are Mineral County (20-1), Whittell (14-1), Word of Life (5-1), Sierra Lutheran (13-4), Tonopah (12-4), and Jackpot (13-5).
With the playoffs looming later this month, four teams from the Southern league will enter along with four teams from the Central League.
The Central-Southern league playoffs, hosted by the Central League, begin at Reed High School, Feb. 21-22.
At the same time, the West hosts the East-West league playoffs at Wooster High School and Hug High School.
The combined finals for both leagues will be held at Wooster High, Feb. 23.
The top two finishers advance to the state tournament Mar. 1-2 at The Orleans in Las Vegas.