ST. GEORGE — Before Saturday’s 3A first round playoff game at Pine View, Tooele basketball coach Shawn Faux was worried about stopping Pine View. He was worried about getting rebounds. He was worried about the Panthers’ fast-break offense. But he wasn’t worried about scoring. He should have been.
“We felt like if we closed out on their shooters and forced turnovers, we’d have a good chance at slowing them down,” Pine View coach Darrell Larsen said. “What did we hold them to, 16 points in the first half? That’s what I’m talking about. We disrupted their offense with the press and a lot of times they didn’t even get a shot off. We had them for 14 turnovers in the first half.”
Indeed, Tooele, which normally scores about 60 points a game, had trouble even getting the ball past half court in the first quarter. Pine View had its own issues scoring the first six minutes, but a closing flourish gave the Panthers a 9-3 after eight minutes. Garrett Bowker hit a reverse layup to put PV ahead 4-3 with just under two minutes to play and Jack Bangerter’s three-point play followed by a layup from Kody Wilstead gave the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish.
Tooele’s Justin Pollmann made things somewhat interesting early in the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer and a free throw to make it 11-6 with 6:05 to play in the first half, but Pine View went on a 15-2 run over the next 4:04 to turn the game into a blowout at 26-8. Bowker hit a pair of treys in the run and Ryan Koller helped close out the half with two treys of his own as Pine View frustrated the Buffaloes repeatedly.
“We did really good on defense,” Bangerter said. “We practiced a lot on that this week, getting up and getting in the passing lanes, denying the ball.”
Pollmann had 13 of the Buffs’ 16 first-half points as he tried to keep his team close. Meanwhile, Pine View’s team concept was on full display as seven different Panthers scored in the half and four of those had at least six points.
Tooele made a couple of runs in the second half, pulling to within 42-30 with 3:47 left in the third quarter. That run was squelched by a Kendrick Spencer trey and a Chaz Peterson jumper. The Buffaloes cut it to 49-37 on a Pollmann trey with 2:08 to go in the third, but Pine View again answered, this time with a 13-0 run that spanned the next four minutes of game time and was sparked by a Collin Dowdell hook shot and a Malachi Otis 3-pointer.
“I think I lost count on how many times I heard the coaches talk about rebounds this week,” said Dowdell, who had 10 of them in the game. “That was important for us. For the most part we were able to take care of them. We gave up a few.”
Pine View shot well in the game, making 26 of 54 shots (48 percent), 5 of 12 3-pointers (42 percent) and 16 of 23 free throws (70 percent). The Panthers also snagged 15 steals in the game.
“The last few games, we haven’t rebounded the ball very well, so that’s been the focus this week,” Larsen said. “We can’t just rely on Kody Wilstead to do it all for us underneath. Everyone needs to rebound. I thought we did a great job of that today. We rebounded and, for the most part, we played good defense, especially in the first half. Now let’s go up to SUU and see what happens.”
Wilstead finished with 14 points and Bowker came off the bench to score 12 as the Panthers, 17-5, outscored Tooele 27-13 in the second quarter. Dowdell added 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Wilstead added 11 boards, 4 steals and 5 assists to go with his points. Pine View advances to the state quarterfinals and will play Thursday at 12:50 p.m. at SUU’s Centrum Arena vs. Payson, which beat Uintah 49-40 Saturday night. The Lions, 17-6, are the top seed from Region 12 and are on a 10-game winning streak.
Pollmann finished with 20 for the Buffaloes, who finish the year with a 10-13 record.
Video produced by Dallas Griffin and Amber Green
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.