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DIVISION IV BOYS: Lions shake off early jitters, earn state berth

For the first few minutes of Friday’s Division IV Southern League tournament semifinal game at Chaparral, Adelson School’s boys basketball team played a little tight.

The Lions missed their first four shots and turned the ball over twice.

But the Southern League regular-season champions heated up quickly and never looked back.

Rom Izkovich scored 13 points, and Robert Blackwell added 10 points to lead Adelson to a 57-32 victory over Pahranagat Valley to clinch the school’s first state tournament berth.

“It feels good to get the first-ever trip to state for our seniors, our coaches and our community,” Izkovich said. “There will be many more to come.”

Before heading to Reno for state, the Lions will face Spring Mountain in the league title game at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Sunrise Mountain.

Izkovich said nerves may have gotten to the team early in their playoff debut.

“We were a little bit (tight),” Izkovich said, “But we picked each other up as a team like we always do.”

Blackwell and Izkovich made 3-pointers to help spark a 15-2 run for the Lions (17-1) that quickly righted the ship in the first quarter.

Brandon Pappas then connected on a pair of 3-pointers that ignited a 12-0 Adelson spurt in the second quarter that pushed the lead to 31-6 with 3:47 left in the first half.

Pahranagat Valley never got closer than 21 points from there.

Jacob Elharar added 10 points for Adelson.

Sean Wadsworth scored 12 for the Panthers (9-18), who otherwise struggled on offense. Pahranagat Valley hit three field goals in the first half, and didn’t make a 3-pointer until 4:35 was left in the third quarter.

Spring Mountan 79, Word Of Life 38 — Lagarrian Jones and Harlow Hawkins each scored 13 points as the Golden Eagles routed the Eagles in the other semifinal.

Spring Mountain (14-13) took control of the game early with an 18-4 run in the second quarter that was sparked by its disruptive, pressure defense.

“We were just double-teaming the ball everywhere on the floor, using the full-court press,” Spring Mountain coach Ed Cheltenham said. “I don’t think they were in very good shape. We saw it, and we just kept substituting fresh bodies, and we ran them into the ground.”

Edoziem Okafor scored 19 points to lead Word of Life (14-10).

Spring Mountain made the league title game and lost last season, and then fell short in their state semifinal game. Cheltenham said his team is looking to accomplish more this time around.

“Our kids don’t have the experience that most of the teams we play have. But we talked about making it back to the (league) championship game,” said Cheltenham. “Their spirits are high, and I think this year we can make it to the (state) championship game.”

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