THOMAS â€” Snake River head coach Rich Dunn prides his teams on doing one thing very well; playing defense.
When the Lady Panthers took to the floor Saturday night for their home game with Malad it was hard to tell if the week off between games and few days off had any effect on the team at all.
The Lady Panthers defense was in lock down mode from the opening tip as they cruised to a 54-27 win over the visiting Dragons at Snake River High School.
"I thought that was the best defensive performance from start to finish we have had all season," Dunn said. "We played a straight up man to man defense and basically told them to come at us."
Malad had no answer for the Panthers pressure defense or senior post Brylie Bair.
Numerous times over the season Dunn has referred to Bair as 'the beast' and getting the ball to her down on the low block is tough for any team to stop.
The Dragons found that out in the opening eight minutes.
On the second and third offensive possessions of the game the Panthers dumped the ball down to Bair and let her go to work. The senior scored half of her 12 points in the opening quarter.
"Feed the beast," Dunn said of Bair. "We knew we had an advantage down low, so we used it to our advantage and feed her the ball."
Snake River scored the games first 13 points as the Dragons seemed out of sync and flustered by the Panthers defense. Malad got one the board with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.
While Bair controlled the first quarter, the second quarter saw Scout Baldwin and Alyssa Crumley make their presence known in the game.
Baldwin and Crumley scored a handful of transition baskets as the Panthers pressure forced turnover after turnover by the Dragons.
"We did not shoot the ball particularly well tonight, but we did do a great job of getting transition baskets," Dunn said. "When someone did miss a shot we got a follow up shot and got baskets."
Snake River led 33-14 at halftime.
Baldwn and Crumley continued their hot play in the second half as each scored four points, Maegan Peace added four of her own as the Panthers carried a 30-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Crumley scored a game-high 14 points, Baldwin and Bair added 12.
Snake River (5-6) host Sugar-Salem on Jan. 4.
Snake River 54, Malad 27
Malad 5 9 6 7 â€” 27
Snake River 13 20 17 4 â€” 54
Malad â€” Paityn Tripp 3 1-2 7, Sam Evans 2 0-0 5, Saige Smith 2 1-2 5, Brooke Sorensen 1 4-6 6, Karsyn Willie 1 0-0 2, Sierra Detwiler 1 0-0 2. Snake River â€” Makena Shelley 2 1-2 5, Brylie Bair 5 2-3 12, Alyssa Crumley 7 0-0 14, Scout Baldwin 5 2-4 12, Josey Carter 1 0-2 2, Maegan Peace 3 0-0 6, Ivy Goff 1 2-2 4.