Gyawu's free throws clinch Panthers' sweep of Patriots

LILBURN - Yaw Gyawu shoots about 100 free throws at practice.

In Tuesday's battle for first place in Region 8-AAAAA, it was just another day in the gym for the Parkview star.

Gyawu made 12 of 12 free throws in the game, including two in the final 2.5 seconds to give Parkview a 68-66 win over Berkmar.

"This is a very big win," Gyawu said. "Berkmar is a great team and it was two of the top teams in the region going at it tonight."

While the Parkview boys needed Gyawu's free throws to hold off Berkmar, the Parkview girls had to fight off a feisty Patriot team.

Parkview led by 14 early in the fourth quarter, but Berkmar hit three 3-pointers to cut the lead to five.

Megan Geiger was 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 34 seconds to secure a 63-53 victory.

"It was a great win," Parkview coach Mike McCoy said. "Obviously, we got great contributions off the bench from Megan Geiger and Katie Carroll."

Carroll finished with 11 points, including a big 3-pointer during the Panthers' third-quarter run. Geiger had only eight points, but it was her 11 rebounds and late three throws that were a difference.

"Rebounding, playing defense, hustling, that's what she's done for us all year," McCoy said. "She's got a little mean streak in her. She's been our X-factor."

Tyra Smith's basket put Berkmar (16-4, 6-3) up 31-30 with 5:52 left in the half, but that's the last time the Patriots led.

Parkview went on a 14-0 run to take control of the game. Geiger found Carroll in the corner for a 3-pointer and then Carroll made a breakaway layup during the Panthers' 14-0 run. Lauren Coleman also had a big quarter with seven of her 12 points in the period.

"I just don't have any depth," Berkmar coach Tamara Brooks said. "So when they get tired they start to let little things happen like No. 32 (Coleman) get open."

Sczeny Hartry found Coleman for another 3 to start the fourth quarter to put Parkview up 51-37. Parkview (18-3, 9-1) had nine different players score, led by Hartry with 16 points.

"We knew we had to start rebounding and play better on defense," Hartry said. "Once we start playing defense, it just helps our offense."

Smith was Berkmar's top scorer with 15 points and Mariah Richardson had 12.

In the boys game, with Berkmar (13-5, 7-2) concentrating on trying to stop Gyawu it allowed the Panthers perimeter shooters to get open looks. The Panthers had eight different players score, but not benefited more than Rachard Lofton and Andrew Roesch. The duo combined to hit eight of Parkview's 10 3-pointers in the win.

"It appears right now those guys have a nice distribution of contributors," Berkmar coach Tommy McWhorter said. "I thought we did a good job on Yaw, but those other guys did a great job."

Lofton finished with 13 points, while Roesch had 12. Bobby Glover came off the bench to score 12 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.

Parkview (17-4, 9-1) led by 10 after Glover found Ryan Smith under the basket for an easy score. The Panthers led 36-30 at halftime, but Berkmar's Demarion Gordon came out firing in the third to keep it close. Gordon's 3-pointer tied the game at 39 and the Patriots led 48-47 at the end of the quarter.

Gordon scored 13 of his 20 points in the quarter.

After Gyawu made one of his two field goals on the night with 1:18 left in the game, Parkview led 64-60. Wesley Witherspoon hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to tie the game. Gyawu knocked down two more free throws to give Parkview the lead back, but then the Panthers were whistled for a foul when Witherspoon was going to the basket.

Witherspoon was the game's leading scorer with 23 points.

The senior knocked down two free throws with 13.2 seconds to tie the game again, but on the ensuing possession Witherspoon was whistled for a blocking fouled on Gyawu. The Colgate signee knocked down his last free throws of the game to seal the win.

"It was designed for it to go to me, but I wasn't expecting the foul," Gyawu said. "I had to step up to the free throw line and hit some more."

Gyawu was Parkview's leading scorer with 16 points.

"To his credit he made plays when he was supposed to make them," Parkview coach Tim Watkins said. "It's a team game and they pulled it out."

It's Parkview's second win over Berkmar this season after winning 63-62 earlier this month.

"They're an excellent team," Watkins said. "We've played them twice and the total margin is three points, so it's always close."