DIVISION IV GIRLS: Hosier sets record, Panthers win one for coach

RENO — Bailee Hosier set the record for most 3-pointers made in a state girls basketball tournament.

But the Pahranagat Valley senior guard’s most important shot Saturday came from the free-throw line.

With her team clinging to a three-point lead, Hosier made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 12 seconds remaining to seal the Panthers’ 50-46 victory over Eureka in the Division IV title game at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.

“I was actually really nervous,” Hosier said. “I went to the free-throw line and I was shaking. All I said was, ‘Bailee, you have to just make one.’ “

Hosier finished with 21 points and made six 3-pointers to give her 14 for the tournament. The previous record was held by Bishop Gorman’s Aaryn Ellenberg, who made 10 3s during the 2010 Class 4A tournament.

Traci Strong added 13 points and four assists, and Kimberly Lewis had eight points — all in the second quarter — along with 14 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Panthers (25-4) avenged a 48-30 loss to Eureka in last season’s state final.

The title, which is the program’s third in four years, took on extra significance for the Panthers as longtime coach Amy Huntsman was diagnosed with breast cancer on Feb. 6.

Both teams wore T-shirts during pregame warmups supporting breast cancer awareness, and immediately after the final horn, Kennedy Huntsman sprinted to the bench and embraced her mom while the rest of the Panthers celebrated at midcourt.

“First of all, my daughter is a senior, and these kids are like kids to me,” an emotional Amy Huntsman said. “These kids rallied around me. They’ve been my support. … It makes me really humble.”

Added Hosier: “Coach Huntsman all week has been saying we need to play as a team and a family. And I truly believe that we truly did play for Huntsman. … Winning that state championship was amazing. I think it’s the best one we’ve won all of my four years of high school.”

Pahranagat Valley led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter and went ahead 44-31 on a baseline jumper by Jamie Hansen with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter before the Vandals (28-3) rallied. Natalie Norcutt had six of her game-high 26 points as part of a 15-5 run, and Eureka trailed 49-46 with 1:12 left to play.

“I think as much as anything it was that we had a lead and we kind of started to play tight,” Amy Huntsman said. “And they were playing aggressive, and they’re very, very tough. I knew we needed a lead because I knew they were going to make a run.

“I wasn’t sure we were going to stop it. But luckily, we got a couple stops and we were able to finish.”

After a timeout with 16.6 seconds to play, Pahranagat Valley nearly threw away the ball on the inbounds pass but retained possession after a held ball. Hosier was then fouled, and her first free throw bounced in after hitting the front of the rim to put the Panthers on top by four points.

It was the only free throw of the game by the Panthers, who were 1-for-3 at the line.

“I think so many times it comes down to something like that. A free throw. A nice defensive stop, something simple and fundamental you work on all year and for all of your life,” Amy Huntsman said. “It’s kind of significant that that’s what it was that clinched it for us.”

In the boys final, Palmer Chaplin’s layup with 45 seconds left started a game-ending 6-0 run that lifted Whittell to a 53-48 win over Virginia City.

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