By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Lyndsey Hatfield can’t get away from basketball.
Snow not only wiped out school on Thursday, but did the same to PikeView’s girls basketball game. Hatfield played anyhow.
“Actually, I have a little basketball goal in my room and I was playing there,” said Hatfield, with a laugh.
That hard work, on the court or in her room, doesn’t surprise PikeView girls basketball coach Karen Miller.
“She has so much energy,” said Miller, with a laugh. “She can’t be still half the time.”
That is a good thing on the basketball court.
“Lyndsey is just a likable person,” Miller said. “She is an athlete, she plays volleyball and basketball and will then go into softball. All school year long she is involved, and in the summer she is still working on her game to get better in basketball.
“She wants to get better. She is a real hard worker and she loves basketball.”
It shows. Hatfield is definitely not afraid of the competition, which is good since the Panthers have already played five Class AAA teams this season.
“We really play a tough schedule,” Miller said. “She is a hard worker, she works hard in practice and then she brings her hard work to the game. She has a lot of intensity and wants to do whatever it takes for our team to be successful.”
The PikeView sophomore started one game last season for the Panthers, and provided 16 points (including 6 for 8 from the field) and seven rebounds in a five-point loss to Princeton.
“I was a little nervous,” Hatfield said. “I think it is good for everybody to have a little JV experience before you get to the varsity level. It is fun.”
Hatfield got that experience ... for one game.
“I played one game at JV and then got moved to varsity,” Hatfield said. “I was happy. That was my goal last year to go to the state and be the sixth man off the bench.”
She achieved both. Hatfield contributed on a senior-dominated team that advanced to the state semifinals last season. She wants to get back.
“That was awesome,” Hatfield said. “It is addicting. Once you go up there you want to go back.”
Hatfield has been a starter from the beginning this season, providing 11.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for the 5-6 Panthers. That includes a high of 22 points against Spring Valley and 17 rebounds against Bluefield.
She was an especially potent Panther last week, combining to provide 44 points, 26 rebounds and seven steals in three games, statistics that earned her the latest Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week award.
She had nine points, nine rebounds and one steal in a 44-32 loss to Class AAA Woodrow Wilson, and then led the Panthers with 18 points, 17 boards and four steals in a 55-45 win over Bluefield, and another 17 points, 10 boards and two steals in a 45-35 victory against Scott.
“Against Woodrow, they had some good-sized girls, some 6-footers, and to get nine rebounds against some of those girls, that is good,” Miller said. “She is a force, she battles, and the last two games she has really been getting position to get rebounds and she will get the ball out so we can go on our transition. She really has a knack to get into position to get rebounds.”
Hatfield has played big for a young team that had one returning starter, junior guard Hope Nester, who still isn’t completely heeled from surgery following a knee injury suffered during soccer season.
“The coaches have made practices more intense,” Hatfield said. “When we are coming out of a intense practice and going into a game the next day, it make me want to do better and my teams helps me out with it.”
While Nester has been slowed somewhat by her injury, Hatfield has stepped up her game, and will have to continue to do so for the Panthers.
“She will definitely play a big role for us,” Miller said. “This team is a little different (from last year), being so young...For us to be successful and to get where we want to get to, she will have to continue to get those kinds of numbers and all the other team members will need to contribute as well.”
It is Hatfield’s fraternal twin sister, Lauryn, who spells Nester as the sixth man for PikeView this season.
“We are always together,” said Hatfield, of her relationship with Lauryn, who was born two minutes sooner than Lyndsey. “I am two inches taller. I am built bigger than her, she is smaller, she has different color hair than me. I am nothing like her.”
That duo hopes to help PikeView pile up the wins — beginning next week with Wyoming East and Bluefield — with an eye toward another long postseason run.
That loss one step from the state championship last season has definitely remained with Hatfield, who started playing basketball as a second grader, having been groomed since then by her father, Jeff Hatfield.
“It is motivation. We have got to work hard as a team,” Hatfield said. “If we work hard every day in practice, our coaches, even though we are young, they are putting up with everything and pushing us harder and harder to get us back up there...
“We just have to work hard in practice, and we are. Our coaches are doing a great job of keeping our confidence up win or lose, they keep our heads up no matter what.”
Don’t expect Hatfield to be satisfied with her contributions this season, no matter what they are. When schools ends, her basketball obsession continues.
“I got to basketball camps,” Hatfield said. “Since I play so many other sports, I never really can perfect one, I am always in a different one.
“I like basketball best so during the summer that is what I do is basketball.”
—Contact Brian Woodson