ST. GEORGE — Defense. Defense. Defense.
It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s one that Pine View coach Chris Brinagh would be happy to keep queuing up on his turntable.
The Lady Panthers once again dominated their opponent on the defensive end, especially in the first half against visiting Hurricane, then withstood a late run by the Lady Tigers to prevail 42-40. It was their seventh straight win, improving their Region 9 record to 3-0 and overall record to 8-1 .
But it wasn’t easy because Hurricane was just as tenacious.
“Defense. Defense. Defense. … both teams,” Tigers coach Franci Homer said emphatically after the game.
After Hurricane’s Alexa Christensen hit a short turnaround jumper to give the visitors a 4-2 lead just two minutes into the game, the Tigers would not score another field goal for the rest of the first half.
Yet, Pine View was unable to take advantage.
As it often is with aggressive defenders, they commit fouls, and that’s what kept Hurricane in the game. The Tigers hit 11 of 15 free throws in the first two quarters and trailed just 19-15 at the half.
Pine View eschewed its usual fast and furious full-court press, instead digging in against Hurricane’s half-court sets.
The Panthers own offense appeared to be a bit out of rhythm compared to recent games and their shots weren’t falling in the first half, courtesy of the Tigers’ defense.
Saraven Allen, who scored a game-high 14 points, and Claire Newby each scored five points in the half. Four of their teammates each hit a field goal, including a three-pointer by Maycee Hayes.
Pine View closed the first quarter with four steals in the final two minutes, but converted just one when Allen grabbed the ball, pushed it up court and made the layup. She was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw.
Hurricane tied the score at 10 when Tylee Brisk hit a pair of free throws about a minute and a half into the second quarter. But Allen took back the lead for Pine View with a gorgeous spin move inside the lane.
It looked like the Panthers might be getting some offensive momentum when Hayes hit her three to give them a 17-11 lead, but Hurricane’s Jayden Langford hit four of four from the line to keep things close, even after Pine View’s Dawn Mead hit a sweet runner in the lane.
Langford scored 11 in the game, while Hailey Homer led the Tigers with a dozen points. Each had three field goals on the night while the rest of their teammates combined for just four.
From the free throw line, however, the Tigers hit 19 of 26, including Homer’s 6 for 6.
As the second half began, the Panthers again seemed poised to stretch their lead.
Sophia Jensen hit a baseline jumper to open the third quarter. Averi Papa then got a steal, which led to a free throw by Newby. Papa stood out on defense with several steals and blocked shots. Newby hit Jensen for a fast-break layup, giving Pine View at 24-15 lead about a minute into the quarter.
After a Hurricane time out to stem the run, the Tigers’ Langford stole the ball on two consecutive Pine View possessions, going the length of the court both times, making a layup on the first, then pulling up for a short jumper on the second.
After a couple of Panthers’ turnovers, Homer scored inside to pull Hurricane within 24-21.
Both teams did some inside work to close out the third quarter. Pine View’s Papa and Bailey Hofheins put back offensive rebounds and Hurricane’s Madi Hirschi hit a short shot. It was 28-23 heading into the final frame.
The Panthers started out strong, going on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 10 points nearly halfway through the quarter. Allen capped the run with a steal and a coast-to-coast layup. She was fouled on the shot and made the free throw for a three-point play.
After Hurricane cut the lead in half, Allen was fouled on a breakaway and hit both free throws.
Down by seven with 1:18 left, the Tigers had one last run in them.
Kylee Stevens went the length of the court for a layup, then Langford stole the ball, setting up a clutch three-pointer by Stevens to draw her team to within 40-38.
With less than 30 seconds to go, Pine View’s Allen got behind the Tigers’ press twice on consecutive inbounds plays to haul in long passes. She was fouled on each and hit 2 of 4 from the line to put the Panthers up by four and effectively clinch the game with 14 seconds to go.
Homer hit a layup just before the buzzer to account for the final score of 42-40.
The loss drops Hurricane’s Region 9 record to 0-2 and its overall record to 5-7.
Both teams are back in action Thursday, with the Tigers playing at Dixie High School and the Panthers at Desert Hills.
In other Region 9 action, Cedar High School and Dixie won their games.
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