OREM — Despite limping to the regular season finish line with three straight region losses, Parowan’s girls basketball team always believed it was still good enough to make some noise in the 2A state tournament.
After the Rams’ 48-39 opening round victory over North Summit at Orem High School on Friday afternoon, it would be a mistake not to include them in the title conversation.
Parowan was in control throughout against North Summit, easily advancing to next Thursday’s quarterfinals at nearby Southern Utah University. For Chennin Benson, who led the Rams with 16 points, the win was a huge relief.
“This is probably one of the most stressful games on us, you know that it’s all or nothing. You either win and advance, or lose and go home. So it’s great to have this win over with,” said Benson, whose team will face American Leadership in the quarterfinals.
Considering how Parowan ended the season, it had reason to be concerned.
Coach Doug Rogerson always believed, however, that his team was capable of rediscovering the swagger that helped his team start the season with six straight victories.
“The last couple weeks in practice everything is starting to look more and more like they were early. I’m really excited for things to come. When we play like this we’re a good team,” said Rogerson.
Region 14 champion North Summit had plenty to be confident about as well, riding a 13-game winning streak into the playoffs, but Parowan’s defense took the Braves out of what they wanted to do all game.
North Summit’s dribble penetration is one of its greatest assets, and Rogerson believed his team took that strength away most of the game.
Leading 11-9 early in the second quarter, Parowan went on an 11-0 run to open up a 22-11 lead with three minutes left in the half.
The lead rarely dipped below double digits the rest of the way, which Rogerson said was key.
“We could step back and do what we wanted to do, we didn’t let them dictate how we play. We played our game,” he said.
North Summit made a mini run in the fourth quarter, using a 6-1 run to trim the lead to 41-33 with 4:34 remaining. Rogerson quickly called a time out, and Parowan responded with better execution down the stretch to seal the win.
Along with Bennin’s 16 points, Taucia Rowley had a strong game for the Rams with 12 points.
“I think we’re starting to come back to that confidence and aggression,” said Benson.