RICHFIELD — The Panguitch High School basketball teams captured both 1A state championships Saturday night, with the Lady Bobcats defeating Tabiona for the girls title, after which the Panguitch boys upset top-ranked Rich in their title match.

The back-to-back Bobcat victories capped off four days of 1A playoff games hosted at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield, with some consolation games taking place at nearby Richfield High School.

1A girls championship

Panguitch 56, Tabiona 37

Sophomore guard Makena Owens scored 22 points and junior forward Mallory Henrie added 12 points and 13 rebounds as the No. 2 seeded Bobcats defeated No. 4 Tabiona.

Although the Tigers made a layup off the opening tip to take an early 2-0 lead, Owens answered by draining a straightaway 3-pointer on Panguitch’s first possession, giving the Bobcats the lead for good.

Tabi Henrie of Panguitch is fouled while shooting a layup by Tabiona’s Sicily Fabrizio, Richfield, Utah, March 2, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

It marked the first of six treys for Owens, who finished the game 8-for-9 on field goals, including 6-for-7 from 3-point range.

“I was almost tearing up on the sideline after the fourth one,” said Nadine Owens, Makena’s mother and Panguitch’s head coach of five years. “I’m just so happy for her, just so excited. She’s been working really hard, like spending nights and mornings in the gym shooting so that she can see her hard work pay off.”

Panguitch went on to lead 13-7 after one quarter and 28-13 at halftime. The Bobcats then maintained a lead of approximately 15 to 20 points throughout the rest of the game.

While Owens did her damage from outside, post players Mallory Henrie and Brayli Frandsen worked on getting closer looks and putbacks. Frandsen, also a junior. finished with nine points.

Also contributing to Panguitch’s scoring were senior guard Tabi Henrie with seven points, and sophomore guard Tayt Miller and Katie Hatch with four and two points, respectively.

Mallory Henrie of Panguitch moves toward the basket during 1A championship game vs. Tabiona, Richfield, Utah, March 2, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Meanwhile, Tabiona was led by junior Maycee Rhoads’ 17 points, with senior guard Sicily Fabrizio adding 14.

Coach Owens said a main goal of Bobcats defensive strategy was stopping Rhoads and Fabrizio.

“We wanted to put some pressure, especially on their two main girls, and hopefully get them a little flustered at the beginning. ” Owens said afterward.  “Get some defensive stops and kind of swing the momentum to us. So that was kind of our game plan to just shut them down.”

The Bobcats shot 56% from the field for the game, including 67% in the first half. Meanwhile, Tabiona shot just 22% for the game, making just 12 of 55 field goal attempts, including 1-of-12 from 3-point range.

Panguitch almost didn’t make it to Saturday’s championship game, having survived a scare by No. 3 seed Rich in the semifinals on Friday. In that game, Rich led by several points late in the game before the Bobcats rallied and tied it 32-32, forcing overtime. In the extra stanza, the Bobcats continued their momentum and eventually prevailed, 41-34.

In Tabiona’s semifinal contest, the Tigers knocked off No. 1 seed Monument Valley, 51-41, with Rhoads (23 points) and Fabrizio (12 points) combining for 35 in the upset win.

The Bobcats finished their season with an overall record of 22-2. The win marked Panguitch’s 14th state girls basketball title in school history and its first since 2019.

To see the complete tournament bracket, click here.

1A boys championship

Panguitch 55, Rich 48

The No. 3 seeded Bobcats opened the 1A championship game with a 10-0 run against top-seeded Rich and managed to stay ahead the rest of the way.

Panguitch’s Cache Eyre gets the ball knocked away by Rich defenders during 1A state championship game, Richfield, Utah, March 2, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Leading the way for Panguitch was senior forward Cache Eyre, who scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were senior guard Justin Osburn and junior guard Daxton Miller, who made 12 points apiece.

Maddix Johnson and Remme Chappell added six points each for the Bobcats, who took state for the second straight year.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with Panguitch making just 8-of-27 field goal attempts (29.6%) and Rich converting just 3-of-18 (16.7%). The Bobcats held a 21-12 advantage at the halftime break.

Both teams picked up the pace in the third quarter, with Panguitch outscoring the Rebels 20-17 during the third to take a 41-29 lead heading into the fourth.

Late in the game, the Rebels managed to pull within five points. However, Panguitch sank just enough free throws down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.

Ridge Lundgren led the runner-up Rebels with 16 points, while Carter Hoffman added 11.

Panguitch’s Justin Osburn is guarded by Rich defenders during 1A state championship game, Richfield, Utah, March 2, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

After the game, Panguitch coach Clint Barney highlighted what he saw as one of the most important statistics of the night: the Bobcats had just 12 turnovers to Rich’s 15.

“That was the key going in, right?” he said afterward. “We had to control the tempo. And in order to control the tempo, we couldn’t turn the ball over. That’s when they get out and run and get easy baskets.”

Barney said that after committing 19 times on Friday and nearly that many the day before, they doubled down on their efforts to take better care of the ball.

“We couldn’t have done that tonight,” he said. “We would have run out of the gym in the first half.”

“But we didn’t turn it over. We controlled the tempo,” he added. “And so that was the difference in the game.”

Barney also underscored the fact that this year marks the Panguitch boys’ eighth straight appearance in the 1A championship game, with the Bobcats winning five of those title games.

“The second thing is this the 100-year anniversary of Panguitch’s first state championship in 1924,” he added. “That’s pretty special.”

The Bobcats finished their season with an overall record of 24-4, while Rich dropped to 20-5. It marked Pangutich’s second straight state championship in boys basketball and its 10th overall.

To see the complete 1A boys tournament bracket, click here.

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