It took some late-game stops and scores, but No. 3 Kanab survived a late scare from No. 6 Parowan to advance to the semifinals of the 2A state tournament with a 58-56 win.
With no seniors on the roster, sophomore Taylor Janes came up big, intercepting a pass with ten seconds left and made one of two free-throws to help the Cowboys hold off the Rams.
Playing for the fourth time this season, Kanab’s first half looked very similar to the second time the two region foes met. Freshman Rylee Little was everything but her last name for the Cowboys, scoring 14 points and pulling down eight rebounds in the first half.
“Our first half I was really impressed with. They did some things at halftime and we had a hard time adjusting to them,” said Kanab coach Klint Glover. “Give them credit for it and give us credit for wining because that’s how it ended up.”
Despite not scoring again until the fourth quarter, Little made key plays down the stretch to help preserve the win, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“She’s dominant. It’s just a matter of whether we can get the ball up the floor and get it to her,” said Glover. “They changed what they were doing in the second half and that makes it a little bit harder, but she’s a force.”
Trailing by 12 at the break, Parowan had to change things up in order to get back into the game. The changes came most noticeably on the defensive side of the ball, where the Rams brought a full court pressure and started fronting the inside post to deny the ball going inside.
The result was Parowan slowly climbing back into the game, eventually pulling to within six at the end of the third quarter, and staying within single digits the rest of the way. After only forcing four Cowboys turnovers at the half, the Rams flipped the switch, forcing 15 in the second half and not allowing Kanab’s offense to get into a rhythm.
“They’ve got some seniors that wanted to finish strong, and they did. It was a pretty impressive effort by them,” Glover said. “We’re young and that showed a little bit but we came through in the end and ending up wining, so we are happy about that.”
“Survive and advance, that’s what it is.”
When the Cowboys felt the momentum starting to slip away, they turned to junior Anna Cutler who delivered time and time again. Whether it was breaking the Rams press, forcing turnovers on the defensive side of the ball, or making clutch free-throws down the stretch, Cutler did it all.
Late in the game and with the score all knotted up, it was Cutler who drew the foul on a 3-point attempt, making two of three to give the Cowboys the lead for good. Cutler finished the night with a team high 22 points.
“Anna’s where our team begins and ends. She absolutely has to shoulder a lot of the ball handling and had to all year. She just does a great job,” Glover said.
With the win, Kanab will now face the winner of the North Summit–Millard game Friday night at Salt Lake Community College.