By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A quick look at the records and it might seem like a mismatch.
Of course, top-ranked Greenbrier East may have thought the same thing, but the Spartans were beaten by Capital and will be sitting home when the Class AAA girls tournament begins today.
Anything can happen.
The PikeView boys basketball team will travel to Westside tonight for a Region 3 co-final, with the winner advancing to the state tournament next week in Charleston.
Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., weather permitting.
Westside (18-6) is riding a nine-game win streak, while the Panthers enter with a 7-17 mark.
PikeView lost to Bluefield 92-50 in the Section 2 finals last Friday, while the Renegades defeated Wyoming East 65-60 to claim the Section 1 crown.
Following the sectional game against Bluefield, PikeView head coach Lindsey Jones said, “We are excited to get the extra time to practice. We are continually getting better. It may not have shown by the score (against Bluefield), but we are getting better each day.”
Jones said the main thing he has seen from watching film of Westside is they like to play a physical game.
“They’re not really tall, but they are good-sized kids who are really strong and they like to be physical on the defensive side of the ball,” Jones said. “We are hoping we can be patient on the offensive end of the court and dictate what we’re trying to do and I hope we will not be overwhelmed by them being physical with us.”
Since Friday’s sectional game the Panthers have been preparing for the Renegades in a pretty intense manner.
“We’ve been trying to go over all the defenses they run and how they counter it,” Jones said. They do some half court trapping that we haven’t seen this year. Offensively we are trying to keep the same things we’re doing and trying to improve on them.”
PikeView is a young team with only one senior, Jonathan Burrell, on the roster. According to Jones the team is relaxed and focused as they head are one step from the state tournament.
“They are really laid back, have been all season,” Jones noted. “They really don’t show the pressure until tip. They keep their free spirit through practice and pregame and are a really good group of kids.”
Look for the Panthers have a starting lineup of Seth Wood, Bradley Flinchum, Austin Cordell, Jason Weitzel and Tanner Farley, with Logan McKinney, Burrell and Austin Hazelwood included in the eight-man rotation.
One player who will not be available and hasn’t been since the James Monroe game earlier this season is Zach Meadows, who suffered a bone fracture in his foot. Jones said Meadows tried to work out in practice Tuesday but is not ready for game action.
PikeView’s offense can be explosive. In the sectional semifinal Farley fired in 24 points and the Panthers sank eight three point baskets, five by Farley. Against Bluefield in the sectional championship, McKinney came off the bench to lead the team in scoring and provide a strong inside presence.
PikeView and Westside did not meet on the hardwood during the regular season and as mentioned earlier, the Renegades are entering the regional co-final on a nine game winning streak. Westside’s last loss was Jan. 28 in the Big Atlantic Classic to Bluefield, 67-56. Since then the Renegades have beaten their arch-rival Wyoming East three times, Independence twice, Liberty-Raleigh and AAA teams Logan, Oak Hill and Shady Spring.
PikeView had lost three in a row prior to beating Mount View in the sectional semifinals.
Jones, in his first season as head coach at PikeView, is also a new father, he and his wife Jamie, a former Daily Telegraph sportswriter and basketball player at Mercer Christian and Cedarville College in Ohio welcomed their third son to the family over the weekend.
As for his basketball family at PVHS Jones said, “We’re excited to be in the regional and hope we get to keep on playing.”
Tip off at Clear Fork is set for 7 o’clock, weather permitting.