Dave Maxwell:
Culen Highbe stretches to make a basket for PVHS in a recent  game. The Panthers host Word of Life in Alamo tonight. They lost to Word of Life in the regional semi-finals last year

After opening the season with a 14-0 mark, Pahranagat Valley boys basketball suffered their first loss 42-33 at Mesquite against 3A Virgin Valley. Hogan Fowles’ 12 points lifted the Bulldogs (12-8) past the Panthers. However, Culen Highbe of Pahranagat led all scorers with 20 points.

There are times occasionally for any basketball team when the ball just won’t go in the basket, try as you may, it just won’t, and having too many turnovers doesn’t bode very well either.

Pahranagat Valley had one of those games in the first half against the Bulldogs. Shot after shot clanged off the rim or spun out, thus leaving the Panthers with only four points in the first quarter and five in the second quarter. Meantime, the Bulldogs were scoring well and fashioned a 21-9 halftime lead. PVHS outscored Virgin Valley in the second half, 24-21, but not enough to close the first half deficit.

Only four players scored for Pahranagat. Following Highbe, Tabor Maxwell and Cody Williams had five each and Christian Higbee added three. But the boys were deadly at the foul line going 11-for-12 (91.6 percent). Virgin Valley made 5-of-12 (41 percent).

On Friday night in league action at Indian Springs, Maxwell and Highbe were a dynamic duo as each scored 11 points leading Pahranagat Valley to a 50-21 win over the Thunderbirds in the first league game for the Panthers (14-0, 1-0). Indian is now 0-2 in league. Dallin Davis was tops for Indian Springs with 10 points.

The Pahranagat starters dominated the game from the outset, jumping out to an 18-1 lead in the first quarter and 37-9 at halftime.

Coach Mike Strong played many of the reserves and younger players in the second half. The Thunderbirds got 10 points in the third quarter but only two in the fourth.

Nine Panther players got into the scoring column. PVHS was 7-for-8 at the foul line (87.5 percent), and Indian Springs was 4-for-9 (44 percent).

Pahranagat now has 12 straight wins against Indian Springs since 2005, and in their last five meetings, the Thunderbirds have not scored more than 21 points.

The boys have just one game this week, in Alamo tonight, with Word of Life, last years 1A state runner-up, and a team they lost to last year in the regional semi-finals.

It’s league play for the remainder of the season except for just two more non-league games, both in Alamo. Jan. 28 with Mountain View and Feb. 7 with White Pine.