For the first time in 32 years, neither the boys nor the girls basketball teams at Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) will participate in the state tournament.
The last year when both teams failed to qualify for the state tourney, held in either Reno or Las Vegas, was 1987. Since then, at least one of the boys or girls basketball teams have always been in the state tournament each year.
The Panthers made a good showing in the South-Central League regional format this year in Reno.
The boys first had a nice win over Smith Valley, then made a strong showing early in the semifinal game with eventual regional champion Mineral County.
Coach Michael Strong said, “I was proud of the guys. They played really, really hard. We didn’t obviously accomplish the goal we’d set out to at the beginning of the year, but we ran into a really, really good team as well [Mineral County]. But our guys didn’t back down and played really, really hard. That’s all you can ask for.”
Pahranagat opened the regional tournament against Smith Valley, the No. 3 seed from the Central League. Stockton Maxwell led the Panthers with 19 points and Preston Higbee followed with 15 points, leading to a 61-21 rout of the Bulldogs in a first-round game.
High point for Smith Valley (4-21) was Alex Perez with five points.
On Friday, the Panthers had to face the powerful, very athletic Mineral County Serpents and their 21-game win streak in the semifinals.
The Serpents and PVHS had played just after New Year’s and this time, Strong said, “We had a couple of things we’d been working on that we thought would be pretty effective. And early on, they were.” However, Kyler Martin got into early foul trouble and hurt the whole plan.
Pahranagat played Mineral County well in the first quarter as both team sought to get their legs underneath them. Mineral County initially only had a 10-8 lead.
Then, in the third quarter, Mineral County star Robert McFalls took over the game, scoring 11 of the team’s 23 points to pull away from the Panthers. McFalls finished with 20 points and his teammate Derek Montoya contributed 17 points.
Maxwell had 12 points for Pahranagat and Kyler Martin had 11.
PVHS finished the season with a record of 12-13.
Mineral County then went on to beat defending state champion Spring Mountain 74-69 in the finals for the No. 1 seed at the state tournament this Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.
The Serpents (29-1) will play Wells (16-12) in the semifinals. Spring Mountain (16-10) squares off with Jackpot (22-5), the champions of the East-West regional tournament.