SUWANEE - Parkview is no stranger to taking a big lead and letting it slip away. The Panthers have done it three times already this season.
They must have learned something from those losses as they didn't let their lead slip away on Wednesday. Parkview held off Dunwoody to take a 71-58 win and advance to the championship game of the Powerade Basketball Festival at North Gwinnett.
Parkview led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter when it held a 37-19 advantage with 2:05 left to play in the half.
Good defensive pressure and solid rebounding allowed the Panthers to build such a big lead.
In the third quarter, that defensive pressure was not there and Dunwoody was able to get back in the game. Dunwoody cut the lead to 42-39 but that was the closest it would get in the game.
Ashleigh Fox hit a 3-pointer and Meghan Geiger hit another 3 to boost Parkview's lead back to nine.
"We feed off each other's success," said Fox, who led the Panthers in scoring with 18 points. "I think in the first half we came out ready to hustle and play good defense and in the third we were slacking on defense and that allowed them to get back in the game."
Parkview led 59-49 to the start the fourth period and Dunwoody was able to cut the lead to five. However, Parkview made 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth to seal the win.
"It's a situation where you are playing a lot of young kids and when you play so many young kids it's hard to simulate the types of situations in practice you will see in a game," said Parkview coach Mike McCoy. "I think we played well and we can go back and show what we did well."
Parkview opened the game with a 7-0 lead and never trailed the entire ballgame. Sczeny Hartry scored five of her 12 points in the first quarter to give Parkview a 20-10 lead at the end of the first frame.
With Jessica Geiger in foul trouble, Kimberly Reeves stepped up in the second quarter with five points, including a 3-pointer that gave Parkview a 32-18 lead. The Panthers built on their to lead and held a 39-28 advantage at the half.
Geiger came on strong to score eight points in the third and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
With the win, Parkview will play the North Gwinnett/ Sandy Creek winner in the championship of the Powerade Festival Tournament tonight at 6:35. It will be the second tournament championship game in as many weeks for Parkview. Last week, the Panthers lost to Jonesboro 63-49 in the Henry County Classic.
"I'm really excited to be back in the championship since we lost last week," Fox said.
Dunwoody was led by Briana Payne with 13 points. Monique Cobb added 12 points.