ST. GEORGE — The Crimson Cliffs girls basketball team hosted Pine View on Wednesday night in the second game of Region 9 play. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead despite some overall sloppy play, and their run continued through the end of the game. The Panthers won by a final of 66-20.
“We played a much better second half than first half,” Pine View head coach Ben Luce said.
Luce said Wednesday’s game was the third in a row that he has played as many as 16 girls.
“So that’s been good for some of us,” he said. “Crimson is young. Our goals are never to play against the scoreboard and to play against goals we set as a team. Even though we had a big lead at halftime, there were still a few things that were a little bit sloppy that we had to clean up in the second half. Some girls responded.”
Pine View’s lead after the first quarter was 17-4, and that extended before halftime to 31-12. They had some bad turnovers in the first half and seemed to rush their shot selection.
When they slowed the game down and capitalized off Crimson’s mistakes, they were able to continue expanding on their lead.
“Offensively, I thought we shot really quickly sometimes,” Luce said, adding that they also turned the ball over a little more. “So those are just the little things. You want to build good habits no matter who you’re playing. Sometimes it’s hard. There are just some little things that we could clean up.”
Averi Papa had a great game down low for the Panthers, capitalizing on her position and getting offensive rebound put backs. She will be a big piece for the team going forward, Luce said.
“That’s what we need to do, is make sure she gets touches early around the rim or wherever she is comfortable that particular day because things do go through her,” he said. “If we can get it to her and then inside out from there, everybody else will feed off of that.”
The Panthers have a break till Jan. 4 when they will play Green Valley from Las Vegas, Nevada. This will give them some time to improve on those little things that Luce is seeing.
“Ball security and just being fundamental on defense,” Luce said. “There’s always room to improve fundamentally on defense, but offensively we need to make better decisions with the ball and take care of it a little better.”
Crimson Cliffs plays back-to-back games on Dec. 20 and 21 in the Central Utah Preview before taking a break. Region 9 play will resume on Jan. 8 for girls basketball.
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