ST. GEORGE — Pine View started the game off very slow, digging themselves a hole, but only went into the locker room down eight at the half. The Panthers held the Thunder to just 26 points in the second half and forced overtime. After the first overtime period, the game was still tied, but the Thunder were able to pull away in the second overtime to get an exhilarating victory.
“I feel like we could have easily let our heads down at the end there, they were coming back, the momentum was theirs, but we never gave up,” Kami Bliss said. “It was really a team effort, every one of us played a role on the court.”
Bliss started the game off strong, keeping the Thunder lead near double digits with her outside shooting. Another thing that stood out was the Thunder’s ability to rebound. There were a number of possessions where Desert hills had two, three or even four offensive rebounds.
Head coach Ron Denos said their rebounding was a major focus this week after losing the rebounding battle in a couple of their games last week.
Coming out of the locker room the Thunder moved into a 1-3-1 zone defense with Bliss at the top. They switched in and out of that zone for most of the second quarter which caused problems for the Panthers.
What opened the door for Pine View was their full-court press. Desert Hills could not break it and it forced a lot of unnecessary turnovers for the Thunder. They also had trouble making some easy baskets in the second half, which further helped Pine View. A major factor in their offensive success was the Thunder’s lack of movement.
“We were standing a lot tonight, there just wasn’t much movement,” Denos said. “We’ve got to have a little bit more movement if we’re going to play very well. I think part of it is being tired, we’re not in shape yet.”
Pine View ended up finding themselves down five with about 15 seconds left when Alex Olson hit a deep three to bring it to a 2-point game. The Panthers then trapped the inbound pass and were able to get a steal, resulting in a wide-open layup that tied the game.
The first overtime period was back and forth, eventually ending with the game still tied. In the second overtime period, Desert Hills jumped out to a quick 5-point lead. Pine View hit a three, but a Bliss hook shot put them back up five points and that was the end of the game.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game because they’re a good team,” Denos said. “We’re both early in the season. We’re still trying to figure things out, they’re trying to figure things out. We were rusty on some things that we tried to do, that’s going to get better as time goes on.”
Denos also brought up how big this win was not only for their record but for their team. They’ve already had a couple of tough games that they had to battle for, and this one is just added to that list.
“I’m really happy we pulled it off, that was a big win for us,” Bliss said.
Averi Papa finished the game with 15 while Olson had 13 for the Panthers. Bliss finished the game with 21 points and Sydney Peisley had 15 points in the winning effort for the Thunder.
The similarities between the boys and girls games were shocking, but the main difference was that the Lady Thunder were able to pull this game out and the Thunder boys were unable to finish the game against the Panthers.
Desert Hills plays Pasadena (CA) next Wednesday while Pine View plays Uintah on Friday at home.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.