The Pahranagat Valley girls basketball team relies heavily on its talent from the perimeter when things get tough.
So when their shots weren’t falling in Saturday’s Division IV state final, the Panthers fell into an inescapable hole.
Eureka, showcasing a reliable offense, pinned the Panthers in a 48-30 victory at Orleans Arena.
“I just felt like we couldn’t get into anything offensively,” Pahranagat Valley coach Amy Huntsman said. “Shots wouldn’t fall that normally do. We couldn’t get anything going to the basket.”
The Vandals’ 2-3 zone defense caused havoc for the Panthers (13-15) most of the game. Pahranagat Valley made only 3 of 20 attempts from the 3-point arc.
“Normally we score really well from the perimeter,” Huntsman said. “We have kids that shoot really high percentages, but for some reason nothing would fall, and we weren’t getting second chances.”
The Panthers trailed 16-12 at the half but cut the deficit to 24-23 with 1:47 left in the third quarter on Bailee Hosier’s three-point play. Eureka (16-3) responded with a 21-2 run that lasted until midway through the fourth quarter.
“I tried to keep them motivated to go,” Huntsman said. “I tried a couple different tactics, and none of it worked. When your shots aren’t falling, it’s hard to get up and play good defense.”
Natalie Norcutt knocked down several baseline jumpers to fuel the Vandals’ offense. She finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
Traci Strong paced the Panthers with 12 points, and Hosier added nine points.
“We bring back a lot of kids next year,” said Huntsman, whose team has no seniors. “The girls were very sad. At Pahranagat Valley, we like to win. Getting second isn’t shabby, but we prefer not to take second.”