Richfield • Class 1A girls’ basketball fans might be spelling dynasty “Panguitch” for more than a few years.
The unbeaten Bobcats, who don’t have a senior on their roster, dominated Rich 51-20 in Friday’s state tournament semifinals and figure to be a heavy favorite going into Saturday’s 5 p.m. title game at the Sevier Valley Center against surprising Garfield County rival Bryce Valley.
Consider just two facts from what is proving to be an amazing Panguitch season.
The Bobcats’ lowest victory margin during the regular season was a 63-48 win January 9 at rival Piute. Piute did give Panguitch a scare in the region tournament, when the Bobcats won by only three.
During the regular season, Panguitch outscored its opponents 1,329 to 700.
That close game in the region tournament may have taught Panguitch something.
“We thought we had to make every shot,” said Taylor Bennett, who led the Bobcats with 17 points. “We would hurry and get a shot off. We need to stay patient. In the game we had that was really close, we didn’t stay patient and didn’t play defense very good.”
When Rich rallied to within 18-10 with 3:22 to play in the first half, it almost seemed as though Panguitch was insulted. The Bobcats responded with a 14-0 run and held Rich scoreless for over 11 minutes. The only doubt after that would be the final margin.
The Garfield County team seems too tall, two quick and too talented for its opponents.
Panguitch coach Curtis Barney said this group of girls has been playing together since the fifth grade.
“The biggest question I have in my my mind is how will our youngness come out in the championship game,” said Barney. “We made that step to get there. Hopefully, we can stay calm and relaxed, play our stkyle and execute.”
Whittni Orton added 11 and Darri Frandsen had 10 for Panguitch.
Bryce Valley 31, St. Joseph 20 : Bryce Valley, which came into the tournament as the sixth-seed from Region 20, shocked the defending champion Jayhawks. The Mustangs used some great three-point shooting and a stifling zone defense to shock St. Joseph, which had not lost since the first game of the season.
The Mustangs will be huge underdogs against Panguitch, having lost to the Bobcats 64-20 and 58-27 earlier in the season. But they are playing loose and with heart.
Bryce Valley used a stifling defense to bottle up St. Joseph star Elizabeth Toman inside.Only the fine play of guard Mady White kept the defending champs in the game.
St. Joseph cut an eight-point lead in the low-scoring game to 21-19 with 5:02 to play, but Bryce Valley would finish the low-scoring game on a 10-1 run.
Samantha Chynoweth scored 10 to lead Bryce Valley, while White hit 14 of the Jayhawks 20 points.
Panguitch vs. Bryce Valley
P Saturday, 5 p.m.Sevier Valley Center