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Fast break offense key in Panthers' lopsided victories

PHS head coach Andrew Olson reacts to a play during the first half of Pinnacle's 91-53 win over Monument Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Taje Richardson got the Panthers' fast break offense working towards the end of the first quarter against Monument Valley. Richardson finished with 17 points and had a number of key steals and stops on defense to help the Panthers get the win.
Senior Dalton Rudman concentrates before shooting a free throw against Monument Valley on Saturday. Rudman finished with 19 points in the win.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

The Pinnacle High Boys Basketball team has been lighting up the scoreboard as of late with a fast-paced style of offense.

But the Panthers' play can almost be compared to a car that's been outside in the cold. It needs some time to run before it begins to work efficiently.

For the Panthers it took over three and a half minutes before they hit their first shot in a game against Monument Valley on Saturday evening at the PHS Gymnasium.

But once the offense got going, there was no stopping the Panthers. Senior Taje Richardson, who came off the bench midway through the first quarter, helped spark a 5-0 run that gave the Panthers a 13-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

From there, the Panthers turned on the jets as seniors Jake Hardy and Dalton Rudman combined to hit a number of 3-pointers that helped the Panthers head into halftime with a 44-26 lead.

That momentum carried over into the third quarter as Pinnacle went on a 21-0 run to blow the game wide open as they outscored Monument Valley 31-8 in the quarter en route to the 91-53 win.

Hardy led all scorers with a team-high 31 points, including five 3-pointers, and 11 rebounds.

Four other Panthers finished in double figures in scoring including Rudman (19), Richardson (17), Javanni Alyzayyat (10) and Jackson Nichols (10).

One day earlier against Navajo Mountain, Pinnacle used a 40-10 start in the first quarter to pull away for a 93-45 win.

The Panthers hit 13 3-pointers against Navajo Mountain and added another 14 against Monument Valley.

While it may take the Panthers a few minutes of game time to get things working correctly, the players believe the offense is geared to help them succeed.

"Once we start hitting shots, we get everything working," said Hardy.

The offense, which head coach Andrew Olson likes to get shots off within 8 to 10 seconds on each possession, has helped with the team's success because the Panthers enjoy the style of play, Hardy explained.

"It's like a never-ending fast break," said Hardy of the style of offense they run. "It was confusing at first but we've gotten better by practicing it everyday."

Olson said he can't pinpoint the exact reason the team always seems to start out slow. He credits the players for getting settled into their roles as they let their style of play take over the game.

"It seems like we always start slow, but once we start playing fast we get better," Olson said. "We always want to push the pace and we don't want to slow things down throughout the rest of the game."

Despite having a smaller team compared to other 1A schools, Olson said the team's athleticism and speed on both sides of the ball helps in overcoming that.

"We may be undersized but we're very athletic," he said. "We try to neutralize things with our team speed."

The Panthers are averaging 74.1 points per game and with seven games under their belts this season, Olson said he is pleased with the progress the team has made so far.

"It's going better than I could have imagined," he said.

The Panthers (6-1) will return to action on Saturday afternoon as they will host Escalante at 4:30 p.m. at the PHS Gymnasium.

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