In the championship game at the 1A state tournament in Las Vegas, the Pahranagat Valley High School boys suffered a 38-33 loss to Green Valley Christian of Henderson.
Pahranagat started the game with a strong 16-8 first-quarter lead, but the boys went cold and didn’t score again until around 4 minutes left in the third quarter as Green Valley went on a 17-0 run. The Guardians used a tight man-to-man defense with enough size to make it hard for the Panthers offensively.
“In the first quarter, we played just about as well as we have all year,” coach Michael Strong said. “However, in the second quarter, the Guardians made some good defensive adjustments on how they would defend our ball screen, and we were not able to get as many clean looks at the basket anymore. We also had a hard time with their size and didn’t get a whole lot of clean shots up.”
Gage Davis did start off the game off with a couple of three-pointers in the first quarter, and Paul Lewis added eight points in the first period.
Strong said he thought “it might be like the night before in the second half against Pyramid Lake, but Green Valley was able to rotate a power defender onto him and make his shot choices a lot tougher as they started stepping up on our ball screen.”
Green Valley just kept the Panthers at arm’s length in the fourth quarter, slowing the game down and running time off the clock. Pahranagat did manage to score 12 points in the last period, but with the slow-down tactics by Green Valley, time just ran out on the Panthers’ excellent season that ended at 24-5, first place in the 1A Central League, the league tournament championship and a second consecutive visit to the state finals.
Lewis scored eight of his 12 points in the first quarter. Kobi Fiatoa finished with seven points, and Davis had six.
Green Valley was led by David Thurman with 11 and big inside threat Joshua Valencia, who scored 10.
Pahranagat really did play good defense, even if their offense sputtered, because Green Valley had won their first two tournament games by scoring nearly 60 points in each win over Sage Ridge and two-time defending state champion Mineral County. Thus, for Pahranagat to hold the Guardians to only 38 points, well below their season average of 56.7 per game, was a major accomplishment.
For the Lady Panthers, their long winning streak of 18 games came to an end with a 61-29 loss to powerful Pyramid Lake in the state 1A semifinals at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas.
The Lady Panthers couldn’t find an answer to the Lakers’ speed and firepower. The team fell behind 15-4 after the first quarter, and the Lakers double-teamed Pahranagat’s leading scorer Jersey Tsosie. It turned into a rout fairly quickly in the second quarter, with the Lakers able to convert on the three-point shot numerous times, upping their lead to 40-12 at halftime. More three-point buckets came in the second half.
Using substitutes in the fourth quarter, neither team scored well. Pyramid had six points and Pahranagat had eight.
So it was an all-Northern final in girls basketball this year, as Coleville topped Round Mountain 48-20 in the other semifinal game. Top-ranked Coleville (22-2) went on to beat Pyramid Lake (24-5) in the championship 66-62 in overtime. The Lakers had gone 9-0 in the Western League this season, but Coleville beat them in the league tournament finals and then again in the state championship to claim their first 1A girls title. Pyramid Lake were last champions in 1981.
On Thursday, the Lady Panthers eased into the semifinals with a convincing 59-31 win over Beaver Dam, the team’s 18th straight win. Jersey Tsosie scored 24 points for the Panthers (21-6).
Meanwhile, the boys had to endure an overtime 52-48 win over a strong and physical team from Owyhee that was using a very effective zone defense. Paul Lewis, who finished as high-point man with 23 points for Pahranagat, made two critical free throws with 10 seconds left to put the game into overtime.
Pahranagat took the lead at 46-43 with 2:03 remaining in the extra frame. From there, Lewis and Wyatt Madsen made four straight foul shots in the final six seconds, giving the Panthers a thrilling 52-48 win and moving them on to the semifinals to face Pyramid Lake.
Matched up against Pyramid Lake, the No. 1 seed from the West League, the Lakers jumped to a 21-14 halftime lead in another low-scoring game.
But the second half was a barrage of three-point shots by the Panthers. Gage Davis and Jaren Leavitt hit five of them and pulled Pahranagat into a tie at the end of three periods,
The three-point shots continued to fall in the fourth quarter as the Panthers outscored the Lakers 34-14 in the second half based in part on Pahranagat’s trapping defense in the corners and forcing the Lakers to take contested shots that were missed, all of which helped to secure a come-from-behind 48-35 win and advanced the Panthers to the state finals to the delight of the Alamo fans who attended the game.
The Lakers, who also had a large and loud crowd that had driven down some 430 miles from Nixon, Nevada, finished the season 13-8.