By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Last February, the PikeView girls basketball team beat perennial power Summers County in a sectional championship game to reach the regional round. Tonight, the two teams tangle again, this time in the Class AA region co-final, with a trip to the state tournament at stake.
“We’re excited,” PikeView coach Karen Miller said on Tuesday. “They (Summers County) have got a great program. Their coach, Wayne Ryan, is an excellent coach. They’re going to be coming in to play four quarters, just like we are.”
Meanwhile, in western Wyoming County, the Bluefield Beavers will take on defending state champ Westside to determine the other state-bound team from southern West Virginia.
PikeView (13-10) and Summers County (15-9) split a couple of closely-contested regular-season games this year. The Panthers took a 46-43 win on Jan. 24 in Gardner, and 15 days later the Lady Bobcats won 59-55 in Hinton.
It was PikeView’s last loss of the season. The Panthers have won five straight, capped by a 69-50 sectional championship win over Bluefield last Thursday.
PikeView has scored 58 or more points, with the exception of one game, during its win streak. The girls from Gardner are allowing 49.5 points per game this year.
“Mainly, we think we’ve peaked at the right time,” Miller said.
“Our scoring has improved,” she said. The starters have gotten more playing experience, she said, adding that “the kids coming off the bench will be a factor tomorrow.”
Junior guard Hope Nester is PikeView’s sparkplug. At the start of the season, coming off knee surgery, Nester was “limited on minutes,” Miller said. “She’s got a lot better as the season has progressed.”
Summers County, which has had injury problems for the second straight season, comes into the regional co-final with four losses in its past five games, including a 77-42 setback to Westside in last week’s sectional championship.
Bluefield (12-11) has played only six games in February and lost four of them. The Beavers, who have averaged 52 points per game, did not play Westside in the regular season.
The defending state champion Renegades (22-1) have blown out their opponents by an average score of 74 to 32 this season. Westside took its only loss at University High in Morgantown, 57-46, on Jan. 31.