A possibly hoped for PVHS – Eureka matchup in the 1A girls state basketball finals didn’t happen this year because Round Mountain upset Eureka in double overtime, and Owyhee, the defending state champion, ousted Pahranagat Valley 78-59 in the Friday night semifinals.
Had it happened that way, it would be the fourth time since 2007 Eureka and PVHS have met in the finals. Eureka won in 2013, and Alamo won in 2011 and 2014.
Owyhee was first for the league champion Lady Panthers, and even though they were the No. 2 Northern seed, they were still big and strong, still a pre-tourney favorite.
The teams had played Dec. 1 in the first game of the season at the Wells Rural Electric tournament with Owyhee winning 53-38.
However, Pahranagat had beaten Owyhee for the state volleyball championship just two weeks earlier, so maybe the outcome would be in Pahranagat’s favor in basketball also.
But not so. “It just wasn’t our day,” said Panther coach Amy Huntsman. “Don’t know what the matter was. It was just their day. They were just better than us. Their big girl, (Kaira Egan) was tough. She hurt us, but any other day the result might have been different.”
She added later, “I’m disappointed at the outcome, but not of the season my girls had. I’m proud of them”
It was the second straight year for the Panther girls to lose in the state semifinals. They lost 62-48 to McDermitt last year.
In this year’s game with with Owyhee, Kaylani Smartt led all scorers with 22 points as the Braves built a double-figure 43-25 halftime lead.
A first quarter 19-9 start for the quick, athletic, aggressive, and strong rebounding Braves set the tempo for the game thereafter.
Owyhee has a favorite play where the 6-foot-1 inch Egan gets the rebound and throws a touchdown pass to a streaking Maycee Cota or whoever is open, for a layup. The Braves use it continually, even when it doesn’t work. They burned the Lady Panthers with it at least 10 times, not counting when the girls did get back in time.
Alyson Egbert scored 16 points for Pahranagat (16-9) in her final game and teammate Karley Whipple scored 13.
Both teams did well at the foul line, Owyhee 17-for-28 (60.7 percent) and Pahranagat 10-for-17 (58 percent).
Smartt again came through with 22 points in the championship game as the Braves won their second straight title by overwhelming Round Mountain 65-37. Egan had 18 points and Cota 13. Hanks and Swafford had 16 and 10 points respectively for the Knights. They had lost to the Braves in the 2016 state semifinals and have now lost to the Owyhee six times in a row since 2006.