Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference.
Parowan used its inside game to build a 12-point halftime lead but had to rely on a solid foul shooting effort to hold off Emery 54-44 Thursday night in Parowan.
Chennin Benson’s 12 free throws in the fourth quarter made up for a cold-shooting second half in which the Lady Rams hit just 20 percent from the floor and Parowan staved off a late Emery charge to pick up its sixth consecutive victory.
Benson had a game-high 20 points and Mckinsey Smith added 16 to lift Parowan — which now needs just one more win to tie its best season start in recent memory.
“I think we all just kind of meshed tonight,” Benson said. “I was feeling confident (at the line). I work a lot on foul shots, so that’s where I get most of my points.”
Benson hit a total of 14 free throws while the Rams went 20 of 33 as a team, a statistic which meant the difference between winning and losing.
“That’s big,” coach Doug Rogerson said. “When you can make those foul shots I think it takes the wind out of the other team because those are free points.”
A strong offensive attack in the first half allowed the Rams to open a 15-6 lead.
Smith had six points and a pair of big blocks in the opening frame as Parowan found its groove early.
Emery closed the gap to 15-11 in the second quarter before Kelsey Wilkey nailed a pair of 3-pointers to push the lead to 21-14.
Parowan shot 55 percent from the floor in the half and went into halftime with a comfortable 28-16 advantage.
But as quickly as the Rams had found their groove, they quickly let it go in the third quarter, going 2-of-12 and settling for just three points – all foul shots – for almost the entire stanza.
Smith’s jumper with 45 seconds left was the first bucket Parowan hit in the frame as Emery went on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 29-25.
“We didn’t come out with as much intensity as we did the first of the game,” Smith said. “We just didn’t really take care of the ball. We kept turning it over.”
Both sides struggled with turnovers throughout the game, had trouble controlling the ball and combined for 48 giveaways.
But in the end, Benson said she knew her team would pull through.
“I have a lot of trust in my team so I wasn’t too worried,” Benson said. “I knew we had to step up the aggression and not be timid.”
And they did, with the help of Emery who fell into the double bonus early in the fourth quarter, repeatedly sending Benson to the line to be the hero once again.
Parowan plays its next five games on the road before returning home Jan. 8 to open region play against Beaver.
SNOW CANYON 65, MAPLE MOUNTAIN 55: Amy Harris scored 21 points as the Warriors were too much for the Golden Eagles on Thursday.
Grace Walton added 16 points and Megan Leavitt added 10 points and eight rebounds for Snow Canyon, which shot better than 50 percent from the floor.