Chenin Benson had a dominating effort with 30 points and 13 boards, and the Parowan Rams never trailed in the second half on the way to a 54-46 victory over American Leadership in the 2A state quarterfinals Thursday at the Centrum.
Parowan (14-8) earned its first trip to the semifinals since the 2003-04 season and will play Emery today at 12:50 p.m. The Eagles will face Beaver in the consolation bracket.
While Benson was the tour de force for the Rams, head coach Doug Rogerson was thankful for a Taucia Rowley layup in the closing seconds of the first half that put Parowan up for the first time, 26-25.
“It changed the momentum of the whole game,” Rogerson said. “When we got that lead at halftime, we just kept going.”
Parowan wasn’t able to push the lead into double figures, but the defining sequence of the second half came when, after a pair of offensive rebounds, Benson drained a 3-pointer to stretch the advantage to 50-41 with three minutes left.
“We were a little lax on their high post in the first half,” Rogerson said. “In the second half, we made sure to get to their shooters.”
And Benson was a big cog that drove the Rams at both ends of the floor.
“She just won’t let you lose,” Rogerson said of the senior. “She’s been here and done that for so many years to get to this level. We haven’t been here before, it’s all new to these kids, and they’re playing some good basketball.”
Added Benson: “We had nerves on our side (in the first half), but when Taucia hit that shot, it helped us come out for the second half with intensity. … We’re so close, and we want it so bad, I just had to lift the team up.”
Mauri Staheli led American Leadership (14-9) with 15 points in the loss.