Senior stars carry powerful Pahranagat Valley to 13th championship

RENO — Winning isn’t anything new for Pahranagat Valley High School.

On Saturday, the girls basketball team showed why it has been so dominant over the years.

Halie Lewis had 17 points and 10 rebounds in her final high school game, and the Panthers rolled to a 53-36 victory over Wells in the Class 1A state final at Lawlor Events Center.

It was the Panthers’ second consecutive title and third in four years. Pahranagat Valley has won a state-record 13 girls basketball championships.

“I am so proud of my team,” coach Amy Huntsman said. “They have played really hard this year and they have continued to progress as the season’s gone on. I felt like we were peaking pretty early, so I got a little nervous. But they continued to find a way to get better. It was really fun to coach them today and see them get out there and do that.”

Lewis set the tone early in the second half, scoring on back-to-back drives to start a decisive 14-0 run by the Panthers (26-4) after the Leopards (23-7) had pulled to within 22-17 at halftime. Lewis scored six points in the quarter.

Pahranagat Valley’s other senior, Kyla Mortensen, like Lewis a four-year varsity player, added 10 rebounds as the Panthers outrebounded Wells 42-21.

“They’re great, great kids,” Huntsman said of her seniors. “They’ve worked so hard. Kyla has come such a long way. She didn’t even like basketball when she was a freshman. And Halie is just an animal. She’s just so intense.”

Huntsman said the team usually excels with full-court pressure, but Saturday decided to go with a half-court trap to start the second half.

“We’ve run it for a couple years, but we didn’t use it very much,” Huntsman said. “When we finally did it right and got a couple turnovers, then they had to make the adjustment.”

Kimberly Lewis also had a big third quarter, scoring six of her 11 points. She also had eight rebounds. Lewis and fellow sophomores Bailee Hosier, Kennedy Huntsman and Traci Strong showed why the Panthers don’t rebuild, they reload.

Hosier had 15 points and five assists, Strong scored eight, and Huntsman had four rebounds off the bench.

Kevyn Swabb scored 13 points, and Ericka Pengelly supplied 10 points and seven steals for Wells, which forced 27 turnovers.

“I hate Wells’ defense,” Amy Huntsman said. “They are so physical and so quick. I wouldn’t want to race them in a 100 any day of the week.”

Contact reporter Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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