Panthers capture third straight boys 1A basketball crown

RENO — Spring Mountain and Pahranagat Valley split their first two meetings this season, each with a late rally to win.

The Panthers made sure there would be no such suspense Saturday.

Pahranagat Valley scored the first eight points, was surprisingly dominant in the post and rolled to a 51-34 victory over Spring Mountain in the Class 1A boys basketball state title game at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.

The Panthers (20-9) won their third straight 1A state championship and 13th title overall. It’s the program’s first three-peat since 1979 to 1981.

“It’s the best feeling ever. Not many seniors get to say that they went four years to the state tournament and won three,” Pahranagat Valley forward Kade Wadsworth said. “It’s been a great ride with teammates and coaches. They’re the ones who got us there.”

Wadsworth had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. The 6-foot-1-inch senior paired with teammates Derek Hansen and Mason Stirling in the post for a marvelous effort in limiting Spring Mountain standout center Roemello Brandon.

Brandon was held to seven points, six rebounds and one block — well below his season averages.

“They were big rebounding the ball and limiting Roemello Brandon’s shots underneath,” Panthers coach Brian Higbee said of his inside trio.

Spring Mountain (24-7) did itself no favors by shooting 1-for-18 on 3-pointers, not making one until Raul Portillo sank one in the final minutes.

The Eagles appeared frustrated with the way the Panthers fronted Brandon in the post and settled for too many jumpers, finishing 15-for-53 from the field.

Spring Mountain lost to Pahranagat Valley during the regular season but rallied past the Panthers for a 49-47 win in the 1A Southern League tournament final Feb. 18.

But the Eagles fell short in their quest for their first state title.

“Very poor game that we put out,” Spring Mountain coach Ed Cheltenham said. “We looked lost. I thought we were ready to play. They seemed like that before the game started. Everybody seemed to be excited about playing for the championship, and then we got on the floor, and we didn’t play defense, we didn’t play offense. We just didn’t come to play.”

Pahranagat Valley took a 13-4 lead after the first quarter and 28-15 at halftime, and was never seriously threatened.

It was a satisfying end for Wadsworth, who returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in late January to give the Panthers a boost.

“I rehabbed it hard for eight weeks,” he said. “I just had to get back to my teammates and help them out to win a state title. That meant a lot to me.”

Chase Hansen had 11 points and Tyler Higbee 10 for Pahranagat Valley, which got eight points and five rebounds from Derek Hansen.

Tomoshae Edwards led Spring Mountain with 10 points and five rebounds, and Tyrice Hall added eight points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 7:22 remaining.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at or 702-387-5203.

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