DIVISION IV GIRLS: Panthers overcome height disadvantage, move into title game

Pahranagat Valley girls basketball coach Amy Huntsman has not been blessed this season with a big lineup.

But the coach has learned to work with the personnel she has, and that work came to fruition Friday as the Panthers overcame a significant height disadvantage to beat Wells 39-32 in the semifinals of the Division IV state tournament at Chaparral High School

Bailee Hosier scored 22 points to lead the Panthers (13-14), who will play Eureka (15-3) for the championship at 2:30 p.m. today at Orleans Arena.

“They’re a lot bigger than us,” said Huntsman, whose tallest player is listed at 5 feet, 6 inches. “So we had to take care of the ball and be careful with our passing. It’s nothing new. We’ve played a lot of bigger schools.”

Neither team was able to take control in the first half, but Brook Higbee, Jamie Hansen and Hosier hit consecutive field goals early in the third quarter to help Pahranagat Valley build a 22-16 lead.

Wells battled back to cut the deficit to 34-30 when Emily Pengelly hit an eight-foot jumper with 3:55 left.

The Panthers led by just six with 1:20 remaining, but the Leopards elected not to foul. Hosier hit two key free throws down the stretch to seal it for the Panthers.

“We were thinking two possessions, so I was really surprised they didn’t foul,” Huntsman said.

Pengelly led Wells with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Eureka 57, Tonopah 39 — Natalie Norcutt scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter to help the Vandals roll past the Muckers.

Eureka took control early and led 39-17 at halftime. Though Tonopah managed several short scoring runs in the second half, the Vandals never surrendered their double-digit lead.

Deanna Van Poucke led Tonopah with 19 points.

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