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1A Girls: Guards help Round Mountain advance to title game

Tonopah’s girls basketball team clearly was focused on slowing down Round Mountain forward Alyssa Hanks on Friday.

With two players surrounding her in the post, it was the Knights’ guards that came through.

McKayla Brown and Tia Sample combined to knock down five 3-pointers, and Round Mountain held on for a 39-35 win over the Muckers in the Class 1A Southern League semifinals at Basic.

“McKala and Tia stepped up and knocked down some outside shots that were big for us early to get us the lead, and then we were just able to hang on,” Round Mountain coach Jake Topholm said.

The Knights (16-4) play Pahranagat Valley (19-3) for the title at noon Saturday at Basic. Both teams have secured berths in next week’s state tournament.

Brown scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half to help Round Mountain early, and Hanks picked up her game in the second half. Hanks finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals. She had nine points in the second half.

“Alyssa got some key offensive rebounds and some stick-backs, and we made free throws when it counted,” Topholm said.

Free throws were the difference, as Round Mountain went 12-for-19 from the line, while the Muckers were just 5-for-21.

The free throw struggles helped derail Tonopah’s comeback hopes, as the Muckers were 1-for-9 from the line in the fourth quarter. They missed the the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities.

Amanda Katzenbach had 11 points and six rebounds, and Lauren Klapper added seven points and 11 rebounds for Tonopah (9-13).

“Tonopah definitely came out with a different game plan than we’ve seen the last four times we’ve played them this year,” Topholm said. “I thought my kids hung in there and did what they needed to do to win at the end of the game.”

Pahranagat Valley 66, Word of Life 36 — At Basic, Morgan Harris had 14 points, six rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block as the Panthers rolled past the Eagles in the other semifinal.

Word of Life got as close as 33-25 after Taliyah Wilson banked in 3-pointers on consecutive possessions midway through the second quarter.

But the Panthers closed the half on an 8-0 run, and the Eagles never threatened again.

Madalyn Taylor added 14 points and five rebounds for Pahranagat Valley, which forced 17 first-half turnovers.

Lacey Steele came off the bench to score 10 points for the Panthers.

Wilson paced Word of Life (16-7) with 21 points.

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