CEDAR CITY — When Dallin Rowley walked off the court with just over a minute left in the game, an epic roar arose from the Payson faithful who had made the trip down I-15 to the state quarterfinals in Cedar City.
The Lions junior guard had just committed his fifth foul, seconds after scoring his 15th points, seconds after snagging his seventh steal and helping Payson clinch a trip to the 3A semifinals with a 55-48 win over Pine View Thursday afternoon at SUU’s Centrum Arena.
For Pine View, it was a frustrating afternoon in which the Panthers led most of the game, but faltered when it mattered the most.
“We left it all out there, but we just made too many mistakes and didn’t finish the game the way we needed to,” Pine View coach Darrell Larsen said. “I give a lot of credit to Payson. They have a lot of seniors and they knew how to finish a game.”
The Panthers led by as many as 12 in the first half and held a six-point lead in the fourth quarter. But Pine View missed three straight front ends on one and one free throws and Payson started a rally with a 3-pointer by Daniel Reno. Rowley followed the trey with a steal and a layup to make it 41-40 with 4:34 left in the game.
The two teams traded baskets until Payson was finally able to tie the game on a leaner by Mark Wolf with 1:50 to play. Payson took only its second lead of the game on the aforementioned steal and layup by Rowley, making it 49-47 with 1:15 left.
Another Pine View turnover led to free throws by Payson and the Lions hit them, extending the lead and eventually clinching the win as Pine View was unable to get 3-pointers to fall in the game’s final minute.
The Panthers were hurt by foul problems. Kody Wilstead fouled out with 4:30 to play and Collin Dowdell was disqualified with just over a minute left.
Pine View was 16-2 at one point this season, but lost four of its last five games, ending up 17-6. Still, Larsen said he was happy with his team’s season.
“It was an incredible season and I am extremely proud of this team,” he said. “We fought hard and the guys did all the things we asked of them without ever complaining. We’ve gone farther than a Pine View team has in quite some time. We are really building something and we will be back even stronger next year.”
Chaz Peterson and Jack Bangerter had 12 points each to lead Pine View, which rushed out to a 24-12 lead early in the game. The Lions, who got 19 from Reno, went on an 8-1 run in the last five minutes of the first half to close within 25-20 at intermission, are 18-6 overall and play Morgan in the state 3A semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Morgan beat Bear River 67-54 in the final boys quarterfinal of the day Thursday behind 17 points from Matt Murdock.
The Trojans, 19-6, have won 14 in a row.
Videocast by Andy Griffin, Bryce Griffin, and Amber Green, St. George News
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