LAS VEGAS – Recipes for success on the basketball court include size, length, quick hands, defense, solid passing and the ability to make shots.
The Pahranagat Valley boys basketball team checks all the boxes.
After defeating the Owyhee Braves 62-20 on Dec. 1 in the Wells Rural Electric Classic, the Panthers provided a very similar result Friday in the Division 1A state semifinal at Durango High School – hitting the running clock and advancing to the state championship with a 68-29 victory in the rematch.
The Panthers jumped to a 5-0 lead on a three by senior Tabor Maxwell and a deuce by senior Christian Higbee after an Owyhee turnover.
The Braves found the board for the first time on a two-point field goal by sophomore Ramon Cordova, but the Panthers ripped off an 11-0 stretch and took a 16-2 lead.
The Owyhee drought was broken by a three from senior Trevor Shaw and a deuce by senior Ricky Baker, but Pahranagat Valley closed the first quarter with another large 9-0 run and hit the quarter-century mark.
Pahranagat Valley blew out to a 25-7 lead entering the second period.
Owyhee notched the first bucket of the second, coming from Cordova.
After a three by Maxwell, Shaw scored for the Braves – Owyhee trailing 28-11.
Pahranagat Valley took a 32-11 lead on buckets from senior Tyson Jorgensen and Maxwell on a pretty feed by senior Cody Williams.
Shaw drilled his second three of the half for the Braves and added a free throw, but the Panthers rode three field goals by 6-foot-10 monster in the middle, junior Culen Highbe – opening a 38-15 advantage.
Three points by Shaw and a deuce from Cordova gave the Braves their 18th and 20th points of the half, but Highbe dropped another deuce in the middle and gave the Panthers a double-up, 40-20 halftime lead.
Pahranagat Valley tore out of the break on an 11-0 run in the third quarter – opening a 51-20 advantage – capped by a Euro step finish by Williams.
Shaw scored with a drive down the left side for the Braves, but the Panthers turned the game into a running clock with a minute remaining in the third – using an elbow jumper from Highbe, a steal by Maxwell and a bucket by Williams on the break after an Owyhee turnover.
The Panthers led 57-22 and went up 59-22 on another finish inside by Highbe.
The Braves tallied the final field goal of the third on a deuce by freshman Clayton Cota after grabbing his own rebound.
Owyhee trailed 59-24 entering the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Stockton Maxwell drilled a three for the Panthers to open the final frame, but Cota dropped his second field goal of the contest for the Braves.
Owyhee earned an And 1, coming on a difficult flip by junior Lance Dick in traffic.
Shaw hit a free throw for the Braves for the final Owyhee point of the game.
Pahranagat Valley ended the game on a 6-0 run and marched to the state championship game with a 68-29 victory over the Braves in the 1A state semifinal.
The Panthers were led by a game-high 21 points from Highbe, joined in double digits with 10 points by Tabor Maxwell – who connected on two 3s.
Pahranagat Valley scored the ball with balance, earning eight points each from Jorgensen, Williams and Higbee – who dropped all eight of his points and two triples in the first quarter.
Shaw led the Braves with 14 points, scoring 11 and hitting both of Owyhee’s threes in the first half.
Cordova finished with seven points – all coming in the first half – and Cota added four for the Braves.
Owyhee’s only other buckets came from Baker and Dick.
PAHRANAGAT VALLEY – 25 – 15 – 19 – 9 – 68 Total
OWYHEE – 7 – 13 – 4 – 5 – 29 Total
The Panthers advanced to the 1A boys state championship and will face Mineral County, which survived a wild 66-65 shootout over Spring Mountain in the other semifinal.
Pahranagat Valley will tip off for the state title against the Serpents at 8:10 p.m. Saturday at Cox Pavilion.