Spring Mountain’s boys basketball team still had the lead Friday when some telltale omens began to surface.
First came the turnovers, followed by lethargic cross-court trots. By the time the Eagles had a chance to catch their breath, Virginia City had taken control en route to a 53-42 victory in the Division IV state semifinals at Chaparral High School.
Quintin Allen scored 16 of his 27 points in the second half to lead the Muckers (23-7), who will face Pahranagat Valley (14-11) for the championship at 4:15 p.m. today at Orleans Arena.
Spring Mountain coach Ed Cheltenham said he knew his eight-player roster would have its hands full.
“Lack of depth was very instrumental,” said Cheltenham, who played only six players. “We needed people to step up tonight. We tried, but we got into foul trouble.”
Virginia City coach Dick Lee said his team took the court with a plan to exploit the Eagles’ shallow bench.
“We wanted to run them,” Lee said. “We wanted to get them in a full-court game.”
Spring Mountain looked strong in the opening minutes, taking a 12-11 lead into the second quarter.
“We haven’t played teams like (the Eagles),” Lee said. “We got a little frustrated there when our shots weren’t falling.”
But the Eagles’ fatigue became apparent midway through the second quarter, and the Muckers capitalized with a late 7-2 run to take a 25-19 lead into halftime.
They were just getting started, as Jordan Popiela and Bodie Blakely nailed back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third, and Allen later hit a series of easy layups to spark a 10-0 run that gave the Muckers a 43-24 lead.
Spring Mountain attempted to fight back in the fourth quarter, cutting its deficit to 47-38 when Devell Williams hit two free throws to complete a 6-0 scoring spurt with 4:12 remaining.
But Allen answered with six consecutive points to seal the Muckers’ victory.
Steven Punchard helped Virginia City with seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Williams finished with nine points and six rebounds for the Eagles, and Chris Munro added 12 points and four rebounds.
“I’m not satisfied with the way we played tonight,” Cheltenham said. “But I’m pretty satisfied with the season.”
Pahranagat Valley 43, Jackpot 28 — Tyler Higbee scored 13 points to lead the Panthers, who pulled away in the third quarter to cruise to victory in the late semifinal.
Pahranagat Valley had a 20-17 lead at halftime, but Jackpot’s 3-point attempts stopped falling in the third quarter. Higbee scored five points in the quarter, sparking a 14-3 Panthers run that put the score out of reach.
Mason Stirling had 10 points for Pahranagat Valley. Narcisco Camacho led the Jaguars with 14 points.