By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
PAROWAN – When the Parowan Rams were staring at a 1-10 record before the calendar turned over to 2018, Porter Miller and the rest of his teammates were angry.
After a shutdown defensive effort against the Gunnison Bulldogs, the nirvana of a Region 18 championship summit is clearly within sight.
Junior Porter Wood scored 13 points and Miller added 10 as the Rams pulled away in the fourth quarter and beat Gunnison 42-28 at home Feb. 2. Parowan stretched its winning streak to nine straight, evened its record at 10-10 overall, and kept a one-game lead over Beaver in Region 18 at 8-2 with two games to play.
“In the first half, it was one pass, two pass, shoot. We’re not really a run-and-gun team,” Miller said. “We have patience in order to get the right shot. When you have Porter Wood, who’s an all-Star player, and you get him going in a groove, it benefits everyone else and amplifies our game by a lot.”
Although he did most of his scoring in the first three quarters, Wood’s effect was showcased nicely in the fourth as the Rams broke open a tight game. They held the visiting Bulldogs without a point for more than five minutes and outscored them by a 16-7 count to keep control of their fate in the Region 18 title race.
Even though the Rams struggled to find momentum on offense until the final eight minutes, they had a season-best effort in fewest points allowed on the defensive end. Miller knows the task isn’t finished yet.
“We just want to win, whether the game is hard or easy,” Miller said. “We’re going to compete. We want to take state, but we’re not going to get there if we keep focusing on the end result. You don’t just go to the top of the staircase. You have to take the steps to get to the top.”
No player finished in double figures for Gunnison, and Parowan head coach Lance Stubbs said the team’s defense has made all the difference, especially in its winning streak.
“Our defense is getting it done for us, there’s no question about it,” Stubbs said. “I expect perfection and it doesn’t happen all the time, but we were pretty close to it tonight. “We hurried (Gunnison) up, and that plays into our hands. We got them taking quick shots, and that helped.”
Parowan started the week in similar fashion, steadily pulling away in the second half in a 66-44 road win at North Sevier on Jan. 31. Wood and Trevor Bassett tied for high scoring honors with 18 points apiece for the Rams.
Parowan will travel to play at Enterprise tonight and return home to face Beaver on Friday in a game that could be the one where the winner becomes the Region 18 champion.
PAROWAN 42, GUNNISON 28
Gunnison 4 8 9 7 — 28
Parowan 6 12 8 16 — 42
Gunnison – Bartholomew 3, Young 7, Stewart 9, Jensen 6, O’Neal 3. Totals 9 10-16 28. 3-pointers – None.
Parowan – Topham 5, Bassett 8, Stubbs 4, Miller 10, Wood 13, Guymon 2. Totals 17 7-10 42. 3-pointers – Topham 1.