Panguitch girls win 2nd straight 1A basketball title; Bobcat boys finish as runners-up

Panguitch Lady Bobcats players and coaches surround 1A state championship trophy, Richfield, Utah, March 2, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Panguitch High School via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — For the second straight year, the Panguitch girls and boys basketball teams both advanced to the 1A state championship game. But while both Bobcat teams brought home the first-place trophies last year, only the Lady Bobcats were victorious this year.

Once again, the four-day tournament was held in Richfield, with games being played at both Richfield High and the Sevier Valley Center last week.

In the championship game Saturday, the Panguitch girls faced the Piute Lady Thunderbirds, whom they had defeated in their three earlier meetings this year, twice during the regular season and once in the Region 20 championship game.

The state title game was another hard-fought battle, with Panguitch taking a slim 12-11 lead at halftime. The Lady Cats pulled away with a 13-5 run in the third quarter, then withstood a late Piute rally to finish with a 38-35 victory.

Mataya Barney scored 12 points to lead Panguitch, and also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Karlee Eyre contributed 11 points and Brittney Henrie added 8.

Piute was led by Jordyn Kennedy’s 12 points and 8 rebounds.

Following the game, right after the Panguitch girls had received their hardware – the 13th such trophy in school history – the players finished cutting down the nets and the team and their fans stayed in the Sevier Valley Center to watch the Panguitch boys play their championship game against Tabiona.

The Bobcat boys were seeking their third straight state title, but the Tigers got the jump early on, posting a 20-13 halftime lead. The Tigers then outscored the Bobcats 19-10 during the third to take a 16-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Panguitch mounted a valiant comeback and managed to rally to within two points late in the game, but the Bobcats were unable to fully close the gap on the Tigers, who went on to win the game 47-39 and capture their first state title since 1999.

Senior Acey Orton had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Panguitch, who made just two 3-pointers during the game and were 5-for-15 in free throw attempts. Kanyon Lamb added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bobcats.

Tabiona was led by Hayes Giles 13 points, while Dakota Young added 12.

In the three games leading up to the title game, the No. 2 seeded Panguitch boys had defeated Tintic and Monticello, followed by a 54-49 win over Region 20 rival Bryce Valley in Friday’s semifinals.

The top-seeded Panguitch girls, meanwhile, had beaten West Desert 83-9 on Wednesday, trounced Wayne 60-33 on Thursday and outlasted third-seeded Whitehorse 53-37 on Friday to earn their trip to the title game. The Lady Cats have now won five of the last six 1A state championships, with 2017 being the only exception, the year they lost to Bryce Valley in the semifinals.

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