CEDAR CITY —Chennin Benson never stops.
That is what Parowan head coach Doug Rogerson said about his senior forward and that is exactly how she played in the Rams’ 54-46 victory over American Leadership in the 2A quarterfinals Thursday evening.
“She’s just a great basketball player,” Rogerson said. “She’s put in so much time, worked so hard to get to this point. She just never stops.”
Benson scored 30 points, hit two 3-pointers, was 4 for 5 from the foul line and shot 12 for 21 from the floor. She also pulled down 13 rebounds, blocked three shots, had three steals and dished out two assists to send the Rams to the semifinal round of the playoffs.
It’s the first time since 2005 that Parowan has made it past the first round. A year ago, the team won just three games.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this situation,” Rogerson said. “For all these girls, this is big. They’ve worked hard all year and it’s paying off.”
The Rams rebounded from a four-point deficit at the end of the first quarter to lead 26-25 by halftime. From there, they never looked back. Benson scored more than half of her points after the midpoint, and McKinsey Smith added 14 points and nine rebounds to the Parowan effort.
Mauri Staheli scored 15 points and had nine rebounds to lead American Leadership. Dalila Rodriguez added 11 points, seven steals and six assists and Nikayla Wride had 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
Rogerson said the main difference between this season and last is the attitude of the team.
“The way they started working hard, they work as a team. They don’t care who does what as long as they win,” he said. “They know good things are going to happen.”
Parowan sends the Eagles to the consolation bracket to play Beaver Friday at 9:30 a.m. Meanwhile, the Rams while face Emery at 12:50 p.m. Friday.
“I’m just going to go in there and tell them to keep doing what we do and we’ll go at it again tomorrow,” Rogerson said of his postgame chat. “We’ll play Emery and see what we can do there.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org