With 90 seconds left in the Division IV state semifinal, Pahranagat Valley senior Jamie Hansen was sprawled out on a chair on her team’s bench, five seats away from anyone else.
It felt good to be alone for a moment.
Hansen spent the first 30 minutes of the game being pushed, shoved and elbowed, but in lock-step defensively with Pyramid Lake star Patricia Christy. It’s one of the main reasons why the Panthers will be playing for their second straight state title on Saturday.
Hansen scored 11 points and did everything her team asked of her defensively in a 57-38 win over the Lakers at Orleans Arena. Pahranagat Valley (16-10) will face Smith Valley (28-2) in the final at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“Physically and mentally, I was exhausted, but it’s worth it in the end,” said Hansen, a slight 5-foot-5-inch senior guard, who gave away plenty of size to the 5-5, but thicker Christy. “I just had to put everything into it. It was really hard, but we have been preparing for this for weeks. It was hard, but I did it.”
Christy finished with 11 points, but managed just two points and only three field-goal attempts in the second half.
“We couldn’t let her get the ball in her hands because we knew everything went through her,” Pahranagat Valley coach Amy Huntsman said. “We asked a lot of Jamie today.”
Hansen, a three-sport standout at Pahranagat Valley, came out of the game for a few seconds at the end of the first half and worked around early foul trouble.
“Every time I would go to sub to give her a break, Jamie would say ‘No, Coach, I want 10 (Christy). I got this,’” Huntsman said. “It’s such a good example to our young kids. She has been a great leader this year. For her to come and step up at this part of the season and play with so much heart, she’s just a great kid. She’s like one of my own.”
The Panthers appeared to have the game in hand early, leading 27-12 with just less than three minutes left in the second quarter but Pyramid Lake (19-8) trimmed the deficit to 30-20 at the half and 31-28 early in the third quarter.
A quarter-ending 9-0 run by Pahranagat Valley removed much of the doubt.
“We just had to play our game and not get caught up in everything else around us,” Huntsman said. “It worked.”
Kalli Hosier scored 21 points to lead the Panthers, and teammate Madalyn Taylor grabbed 13 rebounds.
Gigi Rusk led Pyramid Lake with 12 points.
Smith Valley 59, Round Mountain 49 — Josy Wortman scored 21 points, and the Bulldogs survived after wasting nearly all of a 17-point third quarter lead.
Kellie Rogaczewski added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Smith Valley, which led 45-28 late in the third quarter before the Knights cut the gap to 51-49 on Alexis Madziarek’s stick-back basket with 2:17 to play.
The Knights had a chance to take the lead, but missed a 3-pointer with 1:15 to play, and Smith Valley ended the game on an 8-0 run.
“I was just proud of our kids for the way they battled,” Round Mountain coach Jake Topholm said.
Kelly O’Keefe had 13 points for Smith Valley, which shot just 23 of 82 from the field (28 percent).
Freshman Alyssa Hanks led Round Mountain (13-13) with 27 points and 24 rebounds. Hannah Swafford added 13 points for the Knights, who committed 33 turnovers.
“Their pressure was tough on us,” Topholm said. “Our inexperience showed a little bit. We’ve got a lot of young kids.”