Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips. Parkview's Lauren Coleman takes the ball to the hoop as Brookwood's Jazmine Jackson applies pressure on Tuesday.
LILBURN -- With nine seconds left and Parkview clinging to a two-point lead, Delano Spencer looked like a senior.
The Parkview freshman stepped to the free throw line and knocked down a pair to extend Parkview's lead to four points as the Panthers held off a frenzied rally from Brookwood for a 53-50 Region 8-AAAAA win Tuesday night.
"Those were probably the biggest free throws he's shot in his life," said Parkview head coach Keenan Temple.
Well, Spencer did knock down big free throws last year on the eighth grade team.
"It's a little different," he said of the same shots with the varsity team.
As big as the free throws were, after three quarters it didn't look like Parkview would need clutch baskets to beat Brookwood.
The Panthers led by 17 points after extending a seven-point halftime lead mostly off the shooting of Anthony Parker. Parker scored nine of his game-high 18 in the third.
"The thing about (Brookwood) is they are a second-half team, they have proved that all year," Temple said. "Our guys were ready in the third quarter, but got back on their heels in the fourth."
Brookwood's comeback started with defense, holding Parkview to just four points through the first seven-plus minutes as the Broncos' defense forced five turnovers. The defense keyed a sluggish offense that had managed just 26 points through three quarters. In the fourth, they scored 24 in a team effort. No player had more than seven points and five contributed, led by Taylor Mann's seven. Mann hit a 3 and a pair of free throws after he drew an intentional foul from Parkview's Cameron Neysmith as part of the 21-4 run. That run ended with a Malcom Hannah steal and layup that tied the game at 47 with 49 seconds remaining.
Hannah led Brookwood with 10 points, including a pair of 3s, but it was a missed 3 in the final minute that kept Brookwood from taking a lead and set up Parkview on the free throw line.
And even with the Panthers struggling from the line, Parker bailed them out. Parker came up with a rebound and knocked another ball free that gave the Panthers the ball off missed free throws.
"He's a senior and he stepped up and played like a senior," Temple said.
And thanks to a fearless freshman, Parker wasn't needed on the final two free throws.
"He did a good job," Spencer said of Parker. "We needed that. We really needed that."
Parkview girls 88,
Katie Carroll is done thinking about her shots.
The Parkview senior, who has struggled shooting the ball, just started shooting her open shots against Brookwood and after the game, when she thought about them, she smiled.
Carroll hit five 3s as part of a 28-point performance in the Panthers' 88-57 win over Brookwood.
"I stopped thinking about it and just shot it," Carroll said. "I just stopped thinking."
Three of Carroll's 3s came in the first half as Lauren Coleman started slowly. After Brookwood took an early 9-6 lead, Carroll's shooting sparked a 12-3 quarter-ending run from which the Panthers never looked back. Carroll wasn't forcing shots, her looks were open.
"I was taking them if I was open," she said. "We were just running our motion."
The lead grew in the second quarter when Coleman's offense showed up with 11 of her game-high 33 points.
"That's the thing about Lauren (Coleman), she is a very unselfish player, sometimes to a fault," Parkview head coach Mike McCoy said.
The unselfishness faded as the game went along, with Coleman often splitting the aggressive Brookwood defense and driving to the basket. Her 10 points in the third quarter were all field goals near the basket and she was also 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
Parkview needed the tireless efforts of Coleman and Carroll to fend off a streaking Brookwood team led by 20 points from Katie Mallow. Mallow hit three of her own 3s, but wore down after nearly four quarters of pressure defense on Coleman.
With an eight-deep bench, Parkview survived early foul trouble that forced McCoy to leave players in the game with three and four fouls in the first quarter for fear of not having a bench to rely on late in the game. Even in the final minutes, Carroll was still on the floor with no substitute available.
She also wasn't thinking about how tired she was. She enjoyed Brookwood's running style.
"I like running up and down," she said.