Pahranagat Valley turns back Eureka rally to finish on top

Pahranagat Valley’s girls basketball team had watched its 15-point lead cut to four points at the end of the third quarter Saturday.

So junior guard Halie Lewis came to the rescue.

Lewis knocked down a 3-pointer on the fourth quarter’s first possession to push the lead to seven, and the Panthers held on for a 51-42 win over Eureka in the Class 1A state title game at Orleans Arena.

“Halie has kind of a killer instinct,” Pahranagat Valley coach Amy Huntsman said. “She refuses to lose. And she’s one that has really stepped up this year.”

Lewis was 5-for-6 on 3-pointers and totaled a game-high 19 points to go with nine rebounds and five steals.

But the shot to start the fourth quarter was the biggest.

“They were frustrated, and I was frustrated to end the third,” Huntsman said. “So that was huge momentum for us. That was a huge swing in our favor.”

Pahranagat Valley (19-8) had scored 18 points off 14 Eureka turnovers in the first half, but the Vandals started to turn the tables in the third quarter. Pahranagat Valley turned the ball over eight times in the quarter, leading to seven points to help key Eureka’s comeback.

“When somebody starts to come back on you, you have a tendency to panic, and that’s the big thing,” Huntsman said. “And they settled down and were able to take better care of the ball (in the fourth quarter).”

The Panthers turned the ball over only two times in the final eight minutes.

When Lewis wasn’t scoring from the perimeter, it was senior forward Dakota Day inside. Day had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers.

“Dakota’s been playing extremely good basketball,” Huntsman said. “She’s starting to realize how important she is, and I think she really got some confidence in the last few games.

“Dakota’s a powerhouse.”

Senior guard Alyssa Higbee added seven points and seven assists for Pahranagat Valley, which won its 12th girls state championship.

“The seniors really stepped it up this weekend,” Lewis said. “They really did their role and played their part.”

The state title was Huntsman’s 10th, tying a Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record for most by a girls coach. More important, it helped to wipe out the memory of a 41-30 loss to McDermitt in last year’s state semifinals.

“It feels pretty great,” Lewis said, “because that was pretty awful losing last year.”

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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