ST. GEORGE — An undermanned Pine View Lady Panthers squad played lock-down defense and hit enough free throws down the stretch Friday night to close out a 45-39 victory over visiting Payson High School.
The win improved the Panthers record to 2-1.
Head coach Chris Brinagh said a few players missed the game due to injuries and sickness, but “everyone chipped in and decided to play together.”
After giving up 17 points in the first quarter, Pine View held the Lions to just 22 points the rest of the game, using a combination of full-court presses, tight man-to-man and an aggressive zone.
“We mixed up our defenses to give them different looks and keep them off balance,” Brinagh said.
Payson dominated the offensive glass while jumping out to a 17-7 lead, but Pine View’s press and scrambling defense held the Lions scoreless over the last 2:20 of the quarter while the Panthers got a put-back basket by freshman Averi Papa and a steal that was converted into a basket by sophomore Haylee Graff.
Down six to start the second quarter, Pine View closed the gap quickly. Sophomore Sophia Jensen went coast-to-coast after a Payson miss, then senior Dawn Mead hit a jumper after a Lions’ free throw to draw the Panthers to within three at 18-15.
The teams exchanged free throws before senior Saraven Allen made an athletic, spinning drive to the hoop, hitting the shot and getting fouled. After some confusion, however, officials waived off the basket, but Allen made both free throws. She scored 11 points for the game.
A free throw by junior Bailey Hofheins tied the game at 19 before Allen hit one of two foul shots to complete a 13-2 run and give Pine View its first lead of the game with 4:24 left in the half.
Allen played aggressively throughout the game, including on defense, where she led the team with four steals but racked up fouls and spent stretches on the bench. Brinagh said she has a physical style of play that officials “might not be used to,” but credited them for calling a good game.
Each team scored five points to finish the half and Pine View took at 25-24 lead into the locker room.
Mead hit a long two-pointer to open the third quarter and Jensen swished a three-pointer to put the Panthers up by six.
Payson fought back, however, scoring the next nine points to take a 33-30 lead with 2:43 left in the quarter.
Jensen responded with a slicing drive down the lane to draw her team to within one, then hit a free throw when she was fouled on a fast break triggered by Papa’s block of a Payson shot.
Jensen led the Panthers with 13 points and three assists, while also pulling down six rebounds.
The teams finished the third quarter tied at 33.
The Panthers struck first in the final frame. After Payson rebounded a Pine View miss, junior Maycee Hayes stole it back and fed Mead for the bucket.
The Lions tied it at 35, but Allen hit a pair of free throws after being fouled on a drive to the basket with 4:02 left in the game.
Two minutes later, Payson again tied it, but Jensen stole the ball and fed Hofheins for the basket that put Pine View up for good, 39-37. Hofheins scored nine points and led the team with eight rebounds.
Jensen then hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to give her team some breathing room with 1:14 left.
Payson pulled within 41-39 on two free throws after a foul by Allen, which sent her to the bench with five fouls. But that would be the final points for the visitors.
The Lions tried to close the gap by fouling intentionally, a strategy that could have worked – Pineview shot just 3 for 7 from the line over the last 30 seconds – if Payson’s offense hadn’t come up empty down the stretch against the Panthers defense.
Brinagh lauded the defensive effort, but said his young team “isn’t hitting on all cylinders yet.”
The Panthers’ next game is Dec. 19 at home against Snow Canyon High School, which defeated Delta, 42-22, Friday night at a tournament held in the Sevier Valley Center.
Other Region 9 schools to play Friday were Canyon View, which lost to Kanab, 51-37, at the Sevier Valley Center tournament in Richfield, Snow Canyon, which defeated Delta 42-22, also at the Sevier Valley tourney, and Dixie, which fell, 46-43, to Moapa Valley in tournament hosted by Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite, Nevada.
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