Panthers win NGS Classic, off to best start in decades

PAGE, Ariz. — The Pine View Panthers are off to their best start since the 1990s, winning their sixth straight game to start the season by defeating Sunnyside (Tucson, Ariz.) 82-64 in the championship game of the NGS Classic Tournament Saturday afternoon.

Pine-view-smThe sunnyside_blue_devilspower duo of Collin Dowdell and Kody Wilstead dominated the paint in leading the Panthers to the easy win. Dowdell had a career-high 21 points and 13 rebounds and frontcourt mate Wilstead added 20 points and 12 boards as Pine View broke the game open in the second quarter.

Down 19-15 late in the first, PV went on an 8-2 run to close out the period. Dowdell started the run with a layup, followed by a Wilstead bucket and a jumper by Jack Bangerter, making it 21-19 with 1:10 to go in the first quarter. A pair of free throws by the Blue Devils tied it up, but Jed Newby nailed a 3-pointer as time expired to make it 24-21.

As it turns out, the Panthers would not surrender the lead again the rest of the game. Chaz Peterson opened the second quarter with his own 3-pointer, making it 27-21. Dowdell followed that with a 13-foot jumper to make it 29-21, then Wilstead followed that with a bucket inside and just like that, it was 31-21 with five minutes to go in the second quarter.

Thrice, Sunnyside was able to pull within six (at 31-25, at 33-27 and at 35-29), but each time Pine View matched with a basket or free throws. By halftime, the lead had ballooned to 45-33.

Collin Dowdell

If Blue Devils were looking for a second-half run by their team, they were sorely disappointed. With Dowdell and Wilstead patrolling the middle, the Panthers pushed the lead all the way to 20 at 68-48. Sunnyside never did cut it under 13 the rest of the way.

Pine View has not started 6-0 since the turn of the century and exceeded its 2011 start, when PV lost in the finals of the NGS after beginning the year 5-0.

Peterson tossed in 17, including three 3-pointers, for PV and Newby notched 13 points before fouling out with 45 seconds left.

The Panthers return to St. George, but head to the west side of town to take on Snow Canyon Wednesday night in the Jungle Gymnasium. The Warriors are 3-3, but have yet to play a region game yet.


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