Overlooked Smith shines for Parkview

LILBURN -- On a team as talented and well-balanced as the unbeaten Parkview girls, even a four-year contributor can go overlooked at times.

Maggie Smith certainly doesn't go underappreciated by coach Mike McCoy or her Panthers teammates, though.

"She's the epitome of what we are about, which is team basketball," McCoy said Friday night after No. 2-ranked Parkview improved to 20-0 overall and 11-0 in Region 8-AAAAA with a 64-28 rout of visiting Shiloh.

"Maggie is going to do the extra-effort plays. Maggie is going to do the hustle plays. Maggie is going to sometimes guard people much bigger than her. Maggie is going to dive on the floor for loose balls.

"When other players see that, they are going to do it, too. Maggie leads by example. She shows the younger players what we are about and how we win. We aren't more athletic than the other teams. But we do the little things and play as a team."

As selfless as Smith is, she still enjoys scoring just like anyone else and she got to show off that part of her game as well in the early minutes against Shiloh.

The 6-foot senior scored nine points in Parkview's opening 14-0 blitz, taking advantage of a mismatch inside as leading scorer Lauren Coleman drew Shiloh's 6-foot-3 Alyssa Aitken away from the basket.

"It's always fun to score," Smith said.

The early outburst against the Generals came after Smith had contributed eight fourth-quarter points in Parkview's comeback 64-60 victory over Brookwood on Tuesday. But she hadn't scored before that against the Broncos and finished with just 11 against Shiloh despite the early onslaught.

"We have a lot of players who can score," Smith said. "We are an unselfish team and I think that's what helps make us good."

Coleman, who has signed with Florida State, is the Panthers' leader. But she is just as happy to pass or rebound as score, making for an ideal situation.

The 6-foot-1 senior had her usual well-rounded game against Shiloh, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out four assists and making five steals.

Coleman averages 17 points per game, but Parkview's other four starters all average between 11 and eight points.

"We have good balance and we all get along really well," Smith said.

Although Shiloh (12-8) is third in Region 8-AAAAA with a 7-4 record, the Generals have scored just 49 points in their two games against Parkview's ball-hawking defense this season.

Shiloh lost to Parkview 61-21 on Dec. 11 and it wasn't much closer this time.

The Generals got within 16-5 at the end of the first quarter and outscored Parkview 12-11 in the second to make it 27-17 at halftime. But the Panthers, who made 15 steals in the game, blanked Shiloh 15-0 in the third quarter and kept pulling away.

Nine Parkview players scored, with sophomore Helena Pouengue coming off the bench to contribute eight second-half points. Katie Carroll also scored eight for the Panthers and fellow starter Erika Joseph had nine rebounds.

Tajshiana Westbrooks, a 5-foot-8 senior, had a good game for Shiloh with 10 points and seven rebounds. Aitken had eight rebounds, but got into foul trouble and scored just two points.