By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The PikeView Lady Panthers brushed away first game jitters and pulled away from the Bluefield Lady Beavers in the fourth period to claim a 53-40 win at the Brushfork Armory in the season opener for both teams.
“I think we finally settled down,” said PikeView head coach Karen Miller. “One thing for us was getting used to this court. We’re such a young team, we don’t have any seniors and they’ve just started gelling and coming together.”
Bluefield grabbed the early lead on a bucket by Dazia Edwards and a free throw by Destiny Sims. PikeView drew even on a Crysta Meekins free throw and took it first lead on a pair of free throws by Lyndsay Hatfield.
In the early going it was the charity stripe where the most points were scored as both teams had difficulty putting the ball through the net. Additionally, Bluefield got into early foul trouble with starter Tyra Jackson sitting with two fouls within the first two minutes of the game and PikeView shooting the bonus with 3:06 left in the opening quarter.
The Lady Panthers used the free throws, making six-of-nine in the first period, to take a 13-6 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
PikeView continued attacking into the second quarter. The Lady Panthers were shooting the double bonus with 6:45 left in the half and the lead grew to eight midway through the second, 18-10, thanks to baskets by Madison May and Lauryn Hatfield and a free throw by Courtney White.
The Lady Panthers carried a 22-13 lead into halftime.
Bluefield came out looking like a different team in the third quarter. Shots began to fall. A pair of buckets by Jackson and Jesslyn Fullerton, and a two and a three from Edwards pulled Bluefield to within four, 33-29 as the squads headed into the fourth and final quarter.
“We finally relaxed and started playing,” said Bluefield head coach Tony Mallamaci. “In the first half the rim couldn’t have been big enough. We just couldn’t throw it in and Lyndsay (Hatfield) was beating us down the court getting lay-ups or looks. We weren’t getting back to stop her.
“That, combined with not making any shots, we got into a big hole. In the third quarter we relaxed, changed up some things, played a little better, but we got wore down. We played as hard as we could but we just didn’t have the gas to finish it off.”
Four points, however, would be as close as the Lady Beavers would get as PikeView continued its dominance on the boards and extended its lead. The Lady Panthers also used the transition game as they pulled ahead by 10 points with three minutes to go.
Courtney White had three baskets in the quarter down low in the post and May added a three along with a basket from the field and a free throw to help seal the victory for PikeView.
Lyndsay Hatfield and May led PikeView with 12 points each. Hatfield grabbed 14 rebounds and May pulled down seven boards. White added 11 and Meekins had a pair of threes.
“I’m really proud of our play,” Miller said. “We went through a period where we didn’t score, but we did get some crucial baskets and in the fourth quarter we just took control of it.”
Jackson and Edwards paced Bluefield with 12 apiece and Edwards had a team-high eight rebounds.
Mallamaci concluded, “PikeView is the team to beat again in our section and that’s the benchmark of what every team in the section needs to look toward. Tonight they were 13 points better than us. Between now and February we need to figure out how to close that gap.”
Both teams play next against the Graham G-Girls. Bluefield visits the G-Girls on Friday, while Graham heads to PikeView, Monday.
At Brushfork Armory
Brittany Moore 0 2-3 3, Madison May 5 1-2 12, Lauryn Hatfield 3 1-4 7, Crysta Meekins 2 2-4 8, Katelyn Shrewsbury 0 0-0 0, Katelyn Odle 0 0-0 0, Lyndsay Hatfield 3 6-6 12, Courtney White 5 1-3 11, Kaleigh Peyton 0 1-2 1, Totals 18 14-24 53.
Tyra Jackson 5 2-5 12, Jesslyn Fullerton 2 0-0 4, Jessica Hayden 1 0-0 3, Dazia Edwards 5 1-3 12, Abby Atwell 2 0-0 4, Destiny Sims 1 3-6 5, Teryn Auville 0 0-0 0, Totals 16 6-14 40.
PikeView...........................13 9 11 20 — 53
Bluefield............................6 7 16 11 — 40
3-point goals: PV - 3 (Meekins 2, May); Blu - 2 (Hayden, Edwards).
Fouled out: PV - None; Blu - Jackson, Atwell.