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VEGAS INVITE: Fourth-quarter push drives St. Joseph past Pahranagat Valley for championship

Entering the fourth quarter Thursday night, Pahranagat Valley’s boys basketball team was right where it wanted to be in the title game of the Vegas Invitational.

The Panthers had controlled the tempo and frustrated St. Joseph (Calif.) with suffocating defense to finish tied at 43 with three quarters down.

But St. Joseph scored the first 12 points in the final period, and the Knights gathered a 62-52 victory to claim the tournament championship at Mountain View.

“I was real happy with the kids. They didn’t back down and didn’t let down,” Panthers coach Brian Higbee said. “I think we just kind of ran out of gas with their size a little bit.”

St. Joseph (9-5) had seven players at least 6 feet, 2 inches tall, including two at 6-5, while Pahranagat Valley’s tallest player stands 6-1.

The Knights entered the game averaging 88 points in the tournament, but the Panthers (11-1) were able to slow St. Joseph.

“The tempo was right where we wanted it,” Higbee said. “We knew we couldn’t get in a track meet with them getting up and down the floor. The tempo was good; we just ran out of gas. And they did a nice job of hitting free throws down the stretch.”

St. Joseph shot 14-for-17 from the free-throw line, including a 7-for-7 clip in the fourth quarter.

Cody Hosier led Pahranagat Valley with 27 points, and Derek Hansen scored 12 for the Panthers.

Bebe Vargas and Keith Datu led St. Joseph with 12 points apiece, while teammates Case Bruton (11) and Paul Avila (10) also scored in double figures.

Higbee said the biggest positive his team can take out of the tournament is its energy and consistency on defense.

“We can play with anybody, relatively speaking, because defensively, we get after people,” he said.

St. Joseph senior guard Brad Zimmer was named tournament Most Valuable Player, while Hosier was named to the all-tournament team.

Santana (Calif.) 57, Agassi Prep 54 — Ryan Bickford hit four free throws in the final 17.8 seconds to help the Sultans hold off the Stars in the third-place game.

Bickford, who was named to the all-tournament team, led Santana with 18 points.

Quincy Brown paced Agassi Prep with 27 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots on his way to all-tournament honors.

Buckley (Calif.) 79, Mountain View 75 — Tyler Carter-Coppin scored 24 points and all-tournament selection Larry Bush added 20 points as the Griffins edged the Saints in the fifth-place game.

Justyn Anderson had 40 points, eight rebounds and two steals for Mountain View.

Trevor Van Kempen’s 3-pointer from the left wing early in the third quarter tied the game at 41, but the Saints couldn’t take the lead.

Van Kempen finished with 14 points and five assists, and Matthew Larson tallied 12 points and five rebounds for Mountain View.

Needles 61, Desert Christian (Calif.) 58 — Michael Hills had 27 points on his way to all-tournament honors to lift the Mustangs past the Knights in the consolation title game.

Ryan Andrews added 12 points for Needles, which led 43-30 at halftime.

Michael Goodnight led Desert Christian with 16 points.

Tech 70, Calvary Chapel 43 — Michael Johnson poured in 30 points to lead the Roadrunners past the Lions.

Manny Vieites added 11 points for Tech.

Bobby Buist had 17 points and Cody Taylor scored 12 for Calvary Chapel.

The Meadows 67, Aussie Travelers 43 — Austin Brown scored 14 points to help the Mustangs beat the Travelers.

Max Newman and Eric Hirsberg each added 10 points for The Meadows, which led 45-15 at halftime.

Luke Timp led the Travelers with 10 points.

Beatty 71, Adelson School 53 — Anthony Turner scored 14 points to lead the Hornets past the Lions.

Miky Gaitan and Ivan Maldonado added 11 points apiece for Beatty, which led 27-4 entering the second quarter.

Matt Hampson led Adelson with 14 points, and teammate Gabriel Bornstein scored 12.

Lake Mead 54, River Valley (Ariz.) 40 — L.J. Yamzon scored 16 points as the Eagles downed the Dust Devils.

Wesley Brule added nine points for Lake Mead, which outscored River Valley 35-17 in the second half.

Matt Cronn led River Valley with 20 points.

White Pine 56, Spring Mountain 33 — Levi Valdez scored 12 points and Jake Henze added 10 points to help the Bobcats rout the Eagles.

Maurice Williams paced Spring Mountain with 12 points.

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