Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 2, 2013

PikeView boys excited about still playing hoops

By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Prior to tipoff on Friday night, the PikeView Panthers boys basketball team already knew it would be playing in a regional co-final next week, one win away from the state tournament.

Now, after their 92-50 loss to Bluefield in the sectional championship, they know they are the ones who will travel to Westside High in Wyoming County as sectional runners-up.

“We’ve still got a shot,” said 6-foot-4 sophomore Logan McKinney, who was PikeView’s top scorer on Friday night with 10 points.

Senior Jonathan Burrell said, “It feels great to have the opportunity, as a senior, to go with my team upstate — at least to get the chance to go.”

By beating Mount View 62-58 Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs, the Panthers clinched a spot in the sectional final, and with it, a guaranteed appearance in next week’s regional winner-take-all.

One contest away from Charleston, with a 7-16 record and a young team that’s just now comfortable with the techniques preached by their first-year head coach Lindsey Jones.

Sophomore Seth Wood said, “Going into practice, we’re going to work even harder ... to prove everybody wrong, to show that we’re not a mediocre team. We weren’t expected to make it this far.”

Bluefield head coach Buster Large again observed on Friday night about PikeView, “It takes a few years to get the program going.”

The Panthers don’t want to wait a few years. They’re thinking in terms of a few days.

Burrell said, “I think we’re getting better, every game. Every practice, we feel more focused, more determined.”

“Tonight, even though the game didn’t come out the way we wanted it to, we learned something from it. We’ll go in to practice, we’ll fix what needs to be fixed on offense and practice hard on defense ... and give Westside everything we possibly can.”

McKinney said about working with Jones and his staff, “We’ve learned a lot. Because of when he was hired, he came in a little late. There was not a lot of time we had in the preseason.

“I think we’ve gotten 10 times better from the start of the season ’til now. Now we can compete with most of the teams we play, better than we did at the beginning.”

The Beavers continue to be the measuring stick in this section of West Virginia, for sure. McKinney said, “You could tell they’ve gotten a lot better, too — a whole different team, now.”

Wood said, “Just playing these games gave us a lot of experience. It’s just going to help make us better, on down the road.”

The next road the boys from Gardner will travel together will take them to Clear Fork next week to take on Westside (18-6), winners of nine straight games. Their last loss was to Bluefield, 67-56 on Jan. 28.

PikeView and the Renegades have not played each other this season, but Wood said there is already some familiarity with their upcoming opponent.

“We’ve played a lot of their players in AAU ball,” he said. “We know they have shooters, know they’re strong in the post.”

McKinney said, “I think they’ve got a few young players — like us.”

Large said, “A lot of people forget that both these (sectional final) teams go on ... and anything can happen. Believe me, I’m a true believer in that.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com