ST. GEORGE — The third quarter told the tale in the Region 9 opener for Pine View and Snow Canyon high schools Tuesday.
After the visiting Lady Warriors had quickly erased a nine-point halftime deficit to briefly take their only lead of the night, the Lady Panthers responded with a decisive run of their own to retake the lead for good before pulling away in the fourth quarter to win 57-40.
Defense and rebounding were the keys to the game, according to the coaches, although foul shots also played a role, according to the scorebook.
Pine View visited the free throw line nearly three times more than the Warriors, converting 14 of 23, led by Saraven Allen, who hit nine of 12 on her way to a game high 19 points. Snow Canyon shot two of eight from the line.
Allen got plenty of help from Claire Newby, who scored 9 points, and Averi Papa and Dawn Mead, who each tallied 8.
Snow Canyon was led by Hallie Remund’s 10 points, as well as Melenaite Kata, who had 9, and Tylei Jensen and Allie Parr, who each scored 8.
Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh summed up his team’s success in three words: “Defense, defense, defense,” he said with a laugh.
“We feed off our defense more than our offense,” he added. “That may be backwards, but it works for us.”
The Panthers held the visitors scoreless for the first three minutes of the game, but couldn’t build much of a lead, scoring just a pair of free throws.
Near the end of the quarter, the teams exchanged steals on several consecutive trips up and down the court, but with no points to show for it until Allen went coast-to-coast after a steal. That was followed by Papa putting back an offensive rebound to give the Panthers a 10-4 lead.
But Snow Canyon’s Remund responded with a layup and Parr did likewise to close the gap to 10-8.
However, after Pine View’s Sophia Jensen missed a shot, Newby ripped the ball away from a couple of Warriors and ended the quarter with a bucket.
After Kata opened the second quarter with a basket to draw the Warriors within 12-10, Pine View’s Jensen hit an open three after Allen drove the lane and kicked the ball back out. Snow Canyon stayed close, but Jensen hit another three to extend the lead to 18-12.
Each time the Panthers threatened to pull away, the Warriors would battle back. However, in the final 50 seconds of the quarter, Allen jumped the passing lane for a steal that she converted into a layup. After the Warriors missed their next shot, Jensen pushed the ball hard up court to the baseline then fed Allen with a nifty pass in traffic for a layup as the buzzer sounded, giving Pine View at 29-20 halftime lead.
“Rebounding is what we felt like was a weakness of ours, especially in the first half, and closing out quarters,” Snow Canyon head coach Ryan Rarick said. “We closed very poorly. We surrendered multiple runs at the end of the first, second and at the end of third and the beginning of the fourth.”
Coming out of the locker room, however, his team made a big run thanks to Kata and Jensen.
After Papa put Pine View up 31-20 to start the third quarter, the Warriors scored the next 13 points.
Kata muscled her way to a score inside, then Jensen went the length of the court for a bucket. Thirty seconds later, Kata again went into the heart of the defense but kicked the ball out to Jensen for a three-ball and a foul that she converted for a four-point play. Kata got two more on a putback of a missed shot before Remund closed the run with a three-pointer to give Snow Canyon a 33-31 lead.
Asked if he was worried when the Warriors took the lead, Brinagh said, “I’m always worried. You just ask the girls, I’m always worried. At any given moment, [Snow Canyon] is a state championship team. They just keep coming at you. We just had to keep playing, keep battling through.
“Snow Canyon’s a tough team. Playing Region 9, you know they scout you as well as you scout them. It’s a hard battle every night, every Tuesday and Thursday, you know what it’s going to be.”
As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The Warriors’ lead lasted 29 seconds as Pine View’s Mead hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers back up for good. The teams played almost even over the final four minutes of the third quarter and the Panthers took a 37-35 lead.
As the fourth quarter began, the Panthers made another move behind Newby’s three-pointer, followed by Mead going coast-to-coast off a steal before Maycee Hayes also stole the ball and fed Allen for a layup.
After Rarick called a time out to stem the tide, Natalie Gunn hit a three and Remund crashed the offensive glass to get a putback and pull the Warriors within 44-40. It would be the last points for Snow Canyon as the Panthers closed the final 5:31 of the game on a 13-0 run.
“We showed what we were capable of in the third quarter when we went on the run to close the gap and get ahead,” Rarick said, “but then we made some poor decisions at the beginning of the fourth and we buried ourselves in too deep of a hole to come back.”
He said his team has an opportunity to work on its game in some nonregion contests and a tournament in Cedar City.
“The good news is that we get to play this team again and I think tonight will be something we remember for the next time we play them.”
He gave credit to the Panthers and Brinagh.
“His team, they play hard all the time, and when we had lapses, they picked at them right away,” Rarick said. “That’s the sign of a well coached team. They saw our flaws and picked on them. We’re pretty young and learning how to do that to other teams.”
Next up for Snow Canyon is Grantsville High School on the road Dec. 28.
Pine View next plays Dec. 30 at Tooele High School.
Other Region 9 results
In other action Tuesday involving Region 9 teams playing their regular-season opening contests, Cedar outlasted Desert Hills, 51-47. Click here for full story.
Canyon View eked out a 51-50 win at Hurricane. “We had the lead 51-48 with about 10 seconds left,” Canyon View coach Jaycee Slack-Barnhurst said. “They had the ball out of bounds. We fouled and put them on the line.” Facing a one-plus-one free throw situation, Hurricane’s Madi Hirschi made both of her foul shots to bring the Lady Tigers within one point, but Canyon View was able to run out the clock for the victory. Jordan Nielson scored 18 for Canyon View, and teammate Bryn Banks added 10. Hurricane was paced by Hirschi’s 13 points, with Jayden Langford adding 11 and Hailey Homer scoring 10.
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