Pahranagat Valley’s boys basketball team faced a showdown with a Spring Mountain team that had handed the Panthers their only league loss of the season just 10 days earlier.
But with the championship of the Class 1A Southern League tournament on the line, Pahranagat Valley’s “X-Factor” sparked the key sequence that allowed the Panthers to clip the Golden Eagles this time around.
Brodey Maxwell keyed a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, and Pahranagat Valley pulled away to earn a 46-38 victory over Spring Mountain on Saturday at Basic to earn the tournament title.
Panthers coach Michael Strong said Maxwell coming up big in a key moment always is a huge bonus for his team.
“When Brodey plays like that, he makes those big plays it really helps us,” Strong said. “Brodey is our X factor. He’s as tough as they come. He could turn it over four times in a row, and he would just keep going. You just love that kid.”
After Shawn Shumpert had a steal and a layup to give the Golden Eagles a 33-32 lead with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter, Maxwell hit a 3-pointer to put Pahranagat Valley (24-3) back in front. He followed that with a layup, then had another driving score to cap a 9-0 run for the Panthers that made it 41-33 with 2:51 to go.
“Brodey had a stretch there where he was playing well and really hustled, and we were able to capitalize on that,” senior center Culen Highbe said. “We lost to them earlier in the season. But after that game we know what threats they had, so we were able to not allow them to use those threats as much.”
Highbe led the way for the Panthers with 19 points and nine rebounds. After the game was tied at 19 after the first half, Highbe had back-to-back rebound baskets that started a 7-2 run to start the third quarter for the Panthers.
It appeared the Panthers had the momentum after another score on an offensive rebound bucket by Richard Lewis made it 30-25 with 2:00 left in the third quarter.
But Shumpert dropped in a 3-pointer for Spring Mountain just before the buzzer at the end of the quarter, and then opened the fourth period with another 3 to give the Eagles the lead back, 31-30.
But that set up Maxwell’s heroics that pushed the Panthers to the victory.
Lewis added 12 points for Pahranagat Valley, which held the Golden Eagles to one field goal in the final 5:35 of the fourth quarter.
Shumpert finished with 19 points to lead Spring Mountain (22-5).
“The last time we played them, we were up four or five, but we could never get the separation,” Strong said. “So, it wasn’t a surprise, but we were able to counteract this time. They hung in there. They are tough kids.
“I thought we did a great job on Shumpert, who is a fantastic player. I think we were able frustrate them with our length. I really feel it was our defense that helped us this time around.”
Both the Panthers and the Eagles will now turn their focus to the 1A state tournament which begins Friday in Reno.