Spring Mountain boys basketball coach Ed Cheltenham concedes that his players love to chuck it from behind the 3-point line.
And though he embraces it, Cheltenham cautions his Golden Eagles that they must be sharp in every other aspect of their game in case those shots don’t fall. That proved true Saturday against Pahranagat Valley in the Division IV Southern League championship game.
Despite shooting 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) on 3-pointers, Spring Mountain forced 21 turnovers and held the Panthers to just 32.4 percent from the field to run away with a 63-38 win at Spring Valley High to claim its second consecutive title.
Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament.
“That’s the makeup of this team,” Cheltenham said. “Because of who they are, most of these kids haven’t played high school ball, and if I was to jump on them for shooting 3-pointers, they’d shut down. So I just bear with it.
“I liked the fact that we didn’t quit. We start to make some mistakes and we bounce back. Teams I’ve had in the past don’t do that. But this team has some pit bull in them. They play tough; they play hard. We’re physical.”
Steve Jones, who finished with 21 points and four assists, was the catalyst on defense for the Golden Eagles. He had eight steals and four rebounds for Spring Mountain, which grabbed a 31-22 halftime lead.
“(He’s done it) all year,” Cheltenham said of Jones. “The kid is probably a Division I, Division II college ball player. He’s a great kid.”
Spring Mountain quickly took away Pahranagat Valley’s thoughts of a comeback to start the third quarter. The Golden Eagles went on an 11-3 run, thanks to its defensive pressure.
Shakori Clark sparked the run, by connecting on two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to give the Golden Eagles a 42-25 lead midway through the third quarter.
The lead never fell below double-digits after that.
Clark finished with 15 points and five rebounds for Spring Mountain, and teammate Maurice Stitt added nine points. The Golden Eagles were 20 of 48 (41.7 percent) from the field.
Tabor Maxwell led Pahranagat Valley (16-7) with nine points and seven rebounds.