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DIVISION IV BOYS: Junior class propels Lions into league title game

Adelson School has just one senior on its boys basketball roster, but the Lions aren’t lacking in playoff experience.

They have plenty from their junior class.

The Adelson School juniors, led by forward Jake Buchman, accounted for 48 points Friday as the Lions defeated Spring Mountain, 61-52 in a Division IV Southern League semifinal at Desert Pines.

Adelson School (12-8) will play Word of Life (16-3) in the league final at 8:10 p.m. Saturday at Desert Pines. Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament.

“It was a great team effort,” Adelson School coach Rob Blackwell said. “We definitely demonstrated that we were prepared to play playoff basketball. My juniors played with a lot of grit and that’s what we expected because of their experience from two years ago and last year.”

Jake Buchman had 27 points and nine rebounds for the Lions.

Brandon Pappas, also a junior, finished with 16 points, 22 rebounds and two assists. Pappas had nine points and 10 rebounds in the first half as Adelson School took a 30-29 lead into the break.

“He’s a hell of a player,” Blackwell said. “He really worked hard to get himself in shape, which was evident today. He played all but a minute. I’m really proud of his effort. We really needed that to close out the game.”

The Lions, who overcame six lead changes in the first half, never trailed in the second half after using a 12-3 run to start the third quarter and led 42-32 with 5:06 to go.

Jake Buchman scored 11 points in the third quarter, including six of the team’s first eight points. Adelson School also opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run and had its biggest lead at 55-40 with 7:04 remaining.

Pappas’ three-point play on the fourth quarter’s opening possession swung momentum to the Lions.

“It really got us fired up,” Blackwell said. “It showed that he was alert and was ready to make a play. I’m just proud of him, and everyone on the team. … (The juniors) are playing the way we want them to play. We want them to be leaders, and they demonstrated that tonight.”

Ben Elharrar, a sophomore, added nine points for the Lions, who shot 27-for-50 (54 percent) from the field and 5-for-12 (41.7 percent) from the free-throw line.

D’Quan Porchia led Spring Mountain (13-8) with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Tyrese Cook had 11 points, and Guy Whitley scored 10 for the Golden Eagles.

Word of Life 52, Pahranagat Valley 34 — Jarrett Fisher hit five 3-pointers, including three in a 22-4 third-quarter run, as the Eagles downed the Panthers (18-10) in the other semifinal.

Paul Kelker also had 15 points for Word of Life, which got nine points from Elijah Hoye and 10 rebounds from Malik Moore.

The Eagles limited Pahranagat Valley to only two field goals in the third quarter — both by Shawn Wadsworth — and made six 3-pointers to take control.

Hoye connected on a deep 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it 41-23 going into the fourth.

Culen Highbe led Pahranagat Valley with 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Tabor Maxwell added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers, who shot 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from the free-throw line.

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