The Round Mountain girls basketball team expected Owyhee to try and take away its best player, but it wasn’t prepared for the pressure the Braves brought Saturday night in the state championship.
The Braves held Round Mountain junior Alyssa Hanks to an uncharacteristic 16 points as the Knights were unable to unseat the defending Class 1A state champions in a 65-37 loss to Owyhee at Cox Pavilion.
Owyhee used a strong double team on Hanks, who led Southern Nevada girls with 20.8 points per game, throughout the game to keep her from hurting them.
“Using the big girl behind Alyssa and face-guarding her with the other kid made it pretty tough for her to get open,” Round Mountain coach Jake Topholm said. “We want to get the ball inside first and they kind of took us out of our whole system tonight.”
Hanks was able to make some plays late in the game and made four trips to the foul line in the fourth quarter, where she went 8-for-8, but it was not enough for Round Mountain (16-8).
“We tried to make some adjustments and get her open a little bit in the second half, but it was a little too late,” Topholm said.
Hanks led Round Mountain in scoring, and senior Hannah Swafford added 10 points in her final game for the Knights.
Round Mountain trailed by just nine points heading into halftime, but five minutes into the third quarter the Knights’ deficit had grown to 17 points and there was no answer for the Owyhee pressure.
Owyhee used a high pressure offense and defense from whistle to whistle, and junior Kaylani Smart scored 22, and senior Kaira Egan added 18 points for Owyhee.
It was the second state title in a row for the Braves (20-5), and their fifth in program history.
“They’re a pretty quick, athletic and aggressive team,” Topholm said. “They don’t look like it but they can get up and they can defend.”
The Knights played Saturday’s game coming off a double-overtime victory over Eureka on Friday. The quick turnaround clearly had an impact as Round Mountain struggled to defend in transition against the Braves.
“We didn’t have the legs that we’d normally have,” Topholm said. “That was a pretty stressful game on the kids last night. Alyssa and Hannah didn’t really come off the floor, so they didn’t really have their normal legs after playing these back-to-back.”