RENO — Winning isn’t anything new for Pahranagat Valley High School.
And Saturday, the girls basketball team showed why it has been such a dominant force at the Class 1A level.
Halie Lewis had 17 points and 10 rebounds in her final high school game, and the Panthers rolled to a 53-36 win over Wells in the Class 1A state title game at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.
It was the team’s second consecutive title, and third in four years. Pahranagat Valley has won a state-record 13 girls basketball championships.
“I am so proud of my team,” Pahranagat Valley coach Amy Huntsman said. “They have played really hard this year and they have continued to progress as the season’s gone on. I felt like we were peaking pretty early, so I got a little nervous. But they continued to find a way to get better. It was really fun to coach them today and see them get out there and do that.”
Lewis set the tone early in the second half. The Leopards (23-7) had cut the lead to 22-17 to start the half, but Lewis scored on back-to-back drives to start a 14-0 run that gave the Panthers (26-4) control.
Lewis scored six points in the quarter.
The team’s other senior four-year varsity player, Kyla Mortensen, added 10 rebounds as the Panthers outrebounded Wells, 42-21.
“They’re great, great kids,” Huntsman said of her two seniors. “They’ve worked so hard. Kyla has come such a long way. She didn’t even like basketball when she was a freshman. And Halie is just an animal. She’s just so intense. And for them to board so well and play such good defense (was key).”
Huntsman said the team usually excels with fullcourt pressure, but Saturday decided to go with a halfcourt trap to start the second half.
“We’ve run it for a couple years, but we didn’t use it very much,” Huntsman said. “When we finally did it right and got a couple turnovers, then they had to make the adjustment.”
Kimberly Lewis also had a big third quarter, when she scored six of her 11 points. She also finished with eight rebounds. Lewis and fellow sophomores Bailee Hosier, Kennedy Huntsman and Traci Strong showed why the Panthers tend to only reload, rather than rebuild.
Hosier had 15 points and five assists, Strong scored eight, and Huntsman supplied four rebounds off the bench.
“I love my sophomores,” Amy Huntsman said. “They’ve played together forever. They’re still young, but I feel like they’re playing very mature for their age, and it’s so exciting to have a young team and know you’re going to bring them back. So when you graduate those two kids and you’re so sad you’re losing them, you know at least you have kids that can come in and hopefully fill those spots.”
Kevyn Swabb had 13 points, and Ericka Pengelly had 10 points and seven steals for Wells, which forced 27 turnovers.
“I hate Wells’ defense,” Huntsman said. “They are so physical and so quick.
“I wouldn’t want to race them in a 100 any day of the week.”