Pahranagat Valley planned to pound the ball inside to 6-foot-9-inch junior Culen Highbe on Saturday, and the plan worked well for the Panthers.
Unfortunately for them, they had no answer for Mineral County’s three-pronged offensive attack.
Taylen Wachsmuth, Robert McFalls and Andre Davis combined for 54 points, and the Serpents rolled to a 63-46 win for the Class 1A boys state basketball title at Cox Pavilion.
“We knew they were a complete team and a really good team,” Pahranagat Valley coach Mike Strong said. “And it just didn’t seem like we could contain them.”
Highbe turned in an outstanding performance with 28 points and six rebounds, going 12-for-17 from the field.
“The kids did a good job of getting him the ball, and he did a pretty good job of finishing inside,” Strong said.
But even with the tallest player on the court, the Panthers (25-3) were no match for Mineral County on the glass. The Serpents (26-5) outrebounded Pahranagat Valley 36-22.
“Boy, they were tough on the boards and had a number of put-backs,” Strong said. “We haven’t been outrebounded. I’m sure we were tonight.”
The 6-3, 230-pound Wachsmuth led the way with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. McFalls had 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Davis added 17 points and three assists.
McFalls scored 13 points in the first half to help the Serpents take a 35-21 lead.
“The McFalls kid was a beast on both ends of the court, and he was really tough for us to handle,” Strong said.
Pahranagat Valley turned the ball over 10 times in the first half.
“That’s probably been our Achilles’ heel is turnovers,” Strong said. “And then it reared its head there, and all of a sudden they’re converting those for buckets.”
■ Owyhee 65, Round Mountain 37 — The Knights expected Owyhee to try to take away their best player, but they weren’t prepared for the pressure the Braves brought in the state championship game.
The Braves (20-5) held Round Mountain junior Alyssa Hanks to 16 points, as the Knights were unable to unseat the defending Class 1A state champions. Owyhee used a strong double team on Hanks, who averaged 20.8 points this season.
“Using the big girl behind Alyssa and face-guarding her with the other kid made it pretty tough for her to get open,” Round Mountain coach Jake Topholm said. “We want to get the ball inside first, and they kind of took us out of our whole system tonight.”
Hanks went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough for Round Mountain (16-8).
“We tried to make some adjustments and get her open a little bit in the second half, but it was a little too late,” Topholm said.
The title was Owyhee’s fifth in program history.