LILBURN - Sophomore forward Lauren Coleman rescued the Parkview girls from a sloppy first half by scoring 12 of her game-high 20 points in the third period, leading the Panthers to a 64-43 drubbing of visiting Milton Saturday night in a Class AAAAA first-round state tournament contest.
Parkview will host Peachtree Ridge on Wednesday night in the second round of the state basketball tourney as it tries to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Panthers looked tight in the first half and took several ill-advised shots, making only 20 percent by hitting only 7 of 35 attempts.
"We were settling for shots they wanted us to take," said Parkview head coach Mike McCoy. "We weren't getting to the rim."
But the Panthers' defense kept it close, using a zone press to force several Milton turnovers. And, while Milton finished the night hitting 16 of 19 free throws, the turnovers kept the Eagles off the foul line until midway through the second quarter.
With Parkview trailing 26-23 at halftime, Coleman made two steals to ignite the offense. After Maggie Smith drove the lane to tie the game at 36, Coleman's 2-pointer gave Parkview the lead. Milton's Kim Spaid knotted it at 38 with two free throws late in the quarter, but it was all Parkview after that.
The Panthers went on a 14-0 spurt to put the game away, highlighted by Coleman's passing, rebounding and steals. After senior Sczeny Hartry's driving layup made it 40-38, Hartry hit Coleman underneath the basket, and she laid it in for a 42-38 lead after three periods.
"Once we got the lead, we thought we could take them off the dribble and get some nice easy, layups," said McCoy.
That's exactly what happened in the final quarter.
Hartry hit two free throws to begin the period, then Parkview spread the floor on offense and came away with several easy baskets. Maggie Smith sank two free throws and made three straight layups within the first three minutes of the period. One basket came off a pretty pass from Coleman, who finished the game with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
McCoy attributed the Panthers' slow start to their inexperience.
"We're still young," he said. "What we do on offense dictates what we do on defense, and that should be flipped around."
However, the defense held Milton to 17 points in the second half, and only five in the final period. In particular, the Panthers' guards clamped down on Milton's Lauren Maples, holding her to three points and no field goals. Parkview freshman guard Katie Carroll had four steals and shadowed Maples for much of the night.
Guard Kim Spaid led the Eagles with 17 points.