Coach Amy Huntsman is confident her Pahranagat Valley girls basketball squad can handle the pressures of postseason play.
When things got tough in Saturday’s Division IV Southern League championship game, the Panthers showed their poise.
Bailee Hosier scored 11 of her 19 points in the second half, and Pahranagat Valley’s lock-down defense thwarted Tonopah’s rally in a 46-43 win at Sunrise Mountain.
Both teams qualified for the state tournament, which begins Friday at Chaparral.
“I felt like we played a lot better game than the first time we met them,” Huntsman said. “At the end we made some key errors that let them back in the game. You can’t let a team like Tonopah back in, and we did.”
The Muckers rallied with a 17-6 fourth-quarter run that cut their deficit to 46-41 with 10.3 seconds left but ultimately failed to overcome their 35 turnovers.
The Panthers (12-14) pressured Tonopah (10-6) into 23 first-half turnovers and outscored the Muckers 16-6 in the first quarter to build a 25-12 lead at the break.
“It was absolutely what had to happen for us,” Huntsman said of the halftime cushion. “Especially since we got into a little bit of foul trouble in the second half. We weren’t able to play our kind of defense. We had to have a lead, or it would have been trouble.”
Tonopah’s duo of Deanna VanPoucke and Ashley Gray dominated the glass. VanPoucke had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Gray hauled in 16 rebounds.