NORCROSS -- Not even the best high school basketball teams bring their
"A" game every night.
But if Parkview plays the way it did in dispatching of Grayson 70-44 in a Region 8-AAAAA semifinal Friday at Meadowcreek, the No. 2 state-ranked Panthers will be tough to beat.
Katie Carroll scored 19 points, including four 3-pointers, while Lauren Coleman did a little bit of everything with 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals as Parkview (27-0) rolled into tonight's championship game against archrival Brookwood.
"We got what we wanted, we're in the position we wanted to be in and we survived without getting anybody hurt," Parkview coach Mike McCoy said. "Our earmark is, we're not going to out-athlete many teams. We've got to play good team basketball."
The Panthers did that and more Friday as Maggie Smith added 10 points and five rebounds and Erika Joseph chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots and four steals, which was more than enough to impress Grayson coach Cynthia Cooper.
"That's why they're the No. 2 team in the state," Cooper said of Parkview. "They know how to play basketball."
Leading 7-4 midway through the first quarter, Parkview began to flex its muscle and its depth.
Coleman set up Smith for a layup and Carroll for a 3-pointer and Joseph and Mia Marshall muscled in stickbacks as the Panthers ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run over the final 2:34 to take a 16-4 lead.
The lead reached as much as 20 points twice in the second quarter, the last time at 34-14 following a pair of Smith free throws with 3:23 left.
But Grayson tried to fight back behind guard Taren White. The senior had a stickback and coast-to-coast drive off a steal to lead an 8-0 run that brought the Rams to within 34-22 after a pair of Anela Durmic free throws with 1:06 left in the half.
However, Coleman found reserve Katie Block flashing to the basket for a layup with 13.2 seconds left, and Parkview took a 36-22 lead into intermission.
"That was a big play," Coleman said. "Katie's a great player, and I had total faith in her. She just saw (the opening in the lane) and cut and it was there."
The Panthers carried over that momentum into the second half by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter -- four each by Coleman and Smith -- before Grayson's Anna LaCavera stopped the run with a 3-pointer.
By that time, Parkview had upped its lead to 44-25 and was never seriously challenged again.
White still had a strong game for Grayson, which takes on Berkmar in this afternoon's third-place game, with a game-high 21 points, plus five rebounds, while Durmic added seven points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Rams.