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Cedar City • Moments before taking the floor, Cedar girls' basketball coach John Eliason told his team it would make history by ending Panguitch's 64-game winning streak.
History is exactly what happened.
Cedar roared to a 17-1 first-quarter lead over the defending Class 1A state champions, who were playing without ailing star point guard Whittni Orton, on its way to a 58-35 victory Tuesday in the Steve Hodson Cancer Classic.
"They are an excellent team, and we feel honored we could take them and snap that streak," said Eliason.
Even with Orton, Panguitch would have had a fight on its hands against a Cedar City school that has 1,117 students to the Bobcats' 134.
Led by Dream Weaver's 14 points, the balanced Lady Reds did to Panguitch in the first half what the Bobcats have done to so many squads in their winning streak. Last season, Panguitch's closest game was a 21-point win.
"If you play long enough, eventually you are going to get beat," said veteran Panguitch coach Curtis Barney. "It came tonight. It didn't help to have our MVP point guard missing. That showed the way the first half went. We struggled to get into any kind of rhythm."
After trailing 35-6 at halftime, Panguitch managed to cut Cedar City's lead to 15 points and outscored the Lady Reds 29-23 in the second half. Chesney Campbell had most of her game-high 16 points after halftime for the Bobcats.
"At halftime, we settled down and started to play better defense and limit them to one shot," said Barney. "Any time you have a quarterback like Whittni that you've had for four years and she is no longer your quarterback, it takes a little bit of an adjustment. We didn't quit, fought hard and outplayed them the second half. They are a good team that will go a long ways in 3A. ... They have a lot of quickness at each position. We don't see that often."
Orton a star distance runner as well as basketball and volleyball player who ranks among the best all-around girls' athletes in Utah sat in street clothes behind her teammates. She is battling tonsillitis and a sinus infection.
Eliason, whose team has won three of its seven victories by 58-35 scores this season, called the Lady Reds an up-and-down group.
"We got lazy when we had the lead and coasted a little in the second half," he said. "We started the game fired up and played excellent defense. ... [Orton] is one of three players who averages 15 points, and to lose your point guard is a big loss, but we will take them any way we can get them."
Twitter @tribtomwharton Storylines
• Cedar City ends Panguitch's 64-game winning streak.
• Dream Weaver's 14 points leads the Lady Reds, who led 17-1 after the first quarter.
• Panguitch, led by Chesney Campbell with 16 points, was missing sick point guard Whittni Orton, one of the state's top all-around athletes.