Girls 3A State Tournament: Panthers swish past Morgan and into semifinals

Pine View vs. Morgan, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – Mention free throws to Pine View girls coach Chris Brinagh and he’ll break into a big smile.

It wasn’t always that way, but his Panthers made him proud in the state quarterfinals Thursday evening by hitting 84 percent from the line in Pine View’s 67-57 win over Morgan.

pine-view-logomorgan-sm“Free throws and defense, that was it,” Brinagh said. “There’s no magic pill. You just gotta come out and play hard, come out and work hard.”

The Panthers started to pull away early in the game and led 29-21 at the half after a buzzer-beater by Saraven Allen. After intermission, the “defense and free throws” really came into play.

Pine View's  Tayvia AhQuin (24), Pine View vs. Morgan, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Tayvia AhQuin (24), Pine View vs. Morgan, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

In fact, Pine View made 15 straight freebies spanning the third quarter and three minutes of the fourth. The sharp-shooting pushed the Panther advantage to 53-41 with 5:23 left in the game.

“This last week we’ve been focusing on free throws and if we would miss, then we would have to run for it,” Allen said. “Tonight we just put it in our minds that this was for our team and we were just knocking them down.”

Allen had seven of the made free shots in the streak and Tayvia Ah Quin hit four straight in the stretch.

“Coach B has really been drilling us on free throws, making us run,” Ah Quin said. “I really didn’t feel any pressure tonight. I think that helped a lot, like no worries, calm mind.”

 

Pine View's  Saraven Allen (3), Pine View vs. Morgan, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Saraven Allen (3), Pine View vs. Morgan, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Allen finally missed a free throw with 4:06 left, the front end of a two-shot foul. But she hit the back end to put the Panthers ahead 56-43.

A couple of minutes later, Rachel Lusk got in on the action by making all three freebies after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. Her shots and a basket by Breana Moeai gave PV its largest lead of the game at 63-48 with 1:50 left.

The Lady Panthers were only 4 of 8 from the line the rest of the game, but by then the victory was in hand.

“We practiced a lot on the 1-3-1 because we knew they had a lot of good outside shooters,” Ah Quin said. “They didn’t shoot as many 3-pointers tonight as they usually do. I thought we defended the 3 pretty well.”

Kate Blazzard had five of them and led her team with 21 points, but the rest of the Lady Trojans combined to make just one in the game and no other Morgan player cracked double figures.

Ah Quin finished with 20 points and Allen had 17. The Panthers never trailed in the game after opening with a 10-2 run.

There was some bad news for Pne View as post Natasha Fiame went down hard in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Brinagh said they have not diagnosed Fiame yet, but the injury did look serious for the Pine View senior.

PV, 14-9, will play in the state semifinals against a familiar foe. The Panthers will meet Snow Canyon at 4:10 p.m. at the Centrum with the winner heading to the state championship. The Warriors beat Pine View by 11 points and by 12 points in two games this year.

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