As the No. 1 seed in the 1A boys basketball tournament, the Panguitch Bobcats came out Thursday with all guns blazing to take down Rich in a 61-44 quarterfinals game.
“It was a good one to get over with,” said coach Clint Barney. “We jumped on them early, which benefited us.”
Panguitch’s opening volley started with Justin Osburn hitting a 3-pointer, followed in rapid succession by inside shots from teammates Tucker Chappell, Klyn Fullmer and Spencer Talbot. Three minutes into the game Panguitch had established a 15-2 lead.
“They came out ready to play,” Barney said. “They were a little bit sluggish yesterday, so this was a good game.”
Panguitch maintained the lead through the rest of the game.
“We have kids who work really hard, and Klyn is the leader of that group,” Barney said. “What you see in the game is what we get in practice every single day.”
Fullmer got a double-double, scoring 16 points and snagging 11 boards during the game.
“I don’t want to single out just one kid, because they do that collectively as a group,” Barney said. “Osburn came out and shot the ball well early and made a couple of threes in that first quarter and got us rolling.”
Defensively the Bobcats relied on Spencer Talbot blocking several shots and pulling down eight rebounds.
“Talbot is a one-man stopper inside,” Barney said. “I don’t know how many blocked shots he had, but he was an animal.”
Panguitch is familiar with the 1A tournament, as well as being a top seed in it, which hasn’t changed with the addition of the shot clock in high school basketball this year.
Initially, Barney said he was against the shot clock because it could affect a coach’s ability to strategize and use the clock as an equalizer between teams.
“After our game against Valley last year, that convinced me the shot clock was needed,” Barney said. During last year’s tournament, Valley burned the majority of the clock by holding the ball against Panguitch in a quarterfinals game that ended 18-14.
“It’s added a new element to the game, but it’s been fun and good for the game and for the fans,” Barney said.
The 1A semifinals are set to be played Friday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield as Panguitch will take on the number four seed Tabiona. Tabiona’s boys defeated Milford in the quarterfinals Thursday night 54-31.