LILBURN - Holding visiting Chattahoochee to a combined six points in the second and third quarters, the state's No. 2-ranked Parkview girls basketball team topped the Cougars 47-38 Friday night in the Class AAAAA state tournament's opening round.
Chattahoochee took an 11-10 lead after one period on the strength of sophomore sensation Erika Ford's nine points, including one 3-pointer. But Parkview's full-court press forced 16 turnovers as the Panthers (28-1) took control of the game in the second period by limiting Chattahoochee to one field goal.
Meanwhile, Maggie Smith and Morgan Mitchell combined for eight points in the quarter and Parkview led 22-13 at halftime.
"Our defense has been a staple all season long," said Parkview head coach Mike McCoy. "Our press set the tempo and helped calm our nerves. I don't care how good you are, 15-, 16- and 17-year-old kids are going to be nervous."
The Panthers' defense continued to stifle the Cougars in the third period, allowing only four points and moving out to a 30-17 lead at the end of three periods. While Ford finished with 24 points to lead all scorers, Parkview's Mitchell played solid defense throughout the evening and forced the Cougars' star to take several off balance shots.
Chattahoochee began the fourth period with two short jumpers by Alexis Alexander and pulled within nine points, but could get no closer. Parkview stretched its lead to 11 on a layup by Katie Carroll with 5:19 to play. It put the game out of reach when Megan Barnidge made it 41-28 with 2:24 to play.
Two more 3-pointers by Ford brought the Cougars back to within nine, but that's as close as they would get.
In addition to clamping down on the Cougars' star player, Mitchell led Parkview's balanced scoring attack with 11 points. Barnidge totaled 10 points, including six in the opening period, and controlled the boards with nine rebounds. Carroll scored nine points, playing limited minutes after suffering a foot injury in the Region 8-AAAAA tournament.
Chattahoochee finished the season with a 16-12 mark. Parkview will host Milton Tuesday night in the tournament's second round.