ST. GEORGE – After going scoreless in the first quarter and only scoring nine points in the first half, the Hurricane Lady Tigers found their offensive rhythm in the second half and nearly quadrupled their first-half output to down Pine View 44-37 at the neutral site of Snow Canyon High School.
“It was an ugly first half,” Hurricane head coach Franci Homer said. “But on the plus side, we were only down two points. I felt that we were taking good shots and told the girls to keep shooting. I felt confident they would start falling in the second half.”
It did not take long for those results to occur. After an opening basket inside by Alexa Christensen, the Lady Tigers got consecutive 3-pointers from Madi Hirschi and Hallie Gubler.
“I could see their demeanor change after those first couple of outside shots fell,” said Homer. “There was no hesitation on the open shots after we hit those.”
Toward the end of the third quarter, Hurricane got the ball into post Hailey Homer. Homer and Christensen each scored a trio of baskets in the second half.
“Pine View started stretching their defense in the second half to take away our outside shooting,” said Hirschi. “That left our posts open for one-on-one inside. We made an effort to get them the ball. Those shots they hit opened us back up at the end of the game.”
Jayden Langford’s three-point play with 1:36 remaining in the third gave Hurricane its first double-digit lead at 22-12. The third ended with a score of 24-13 as Pine View could only manage two free throws.
In the fourth, the inside game for Hurricane continued as Homer, Christensen and Lexy Lyons all scored or drew fouls to go to the line. The Panthers’ Claire Newby did her best to keep Pine View in the game. Newby took the ball at the high post and tried to create from there.
“We called a timeout just to make adjustments guarding Newby,” said Coach Homer. “She is so talented. We tried fronting her, sagging the offside guard, or playing straight up and doubling her when she got the ball. We didn’t slow her down much.”
It slowed her enough, however. The Panthers did pull to within five, 37-32, on two Bailia Milne free throws. But Pine View’s pressure defense began to take its toll on the Panthers’ foul count. Shortly afterward, Saraven Allen and Milne both fouled out. Hurricane began breaking the press and forcing Pine View to continue fouling. The Lady Tigers only hit 5 of 10 down the stretch, but they limited Pine View at the offensive end and came out with the seven-point win.
Hurricane outshot Pine View 38-13 percent from the floor. The Panthers outrebounded Hurricane 31-21, including nine more offensive rebounds. Individually, Newby led all players with 16 points. Milne and Allen scored seven and six, respectively.
The Tigers had more balanced scoring. Homer led the team with nine points. Hirschi and Langford had eight apiece. Christensen and Gubler scored seven and six, respectively.
Hurricane improves to 12-10 and will travel to Morgan for the first round of the playoffs Saturday evening. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. Pine View falls to 7-11. The Lady Panthers’ season is complete.
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