LILBURN — Though still among Gwinnett County’s most dominant basketball teams, evidence that Parkview’s girls basketball team is rebuilding was painfully apparent Tuesday night.
Erika Joseph scored 17 points and Mia Marshall added eight, but it was too little to stop North Cobb from dominating early and handing the Panthers their first loss this season 54-35 in the championship game of Parkview’s 14th annual Tip-Off Classic.
The Panthers conceivably might win Region 8-AAAAA a fourth consecutive time, or even their first state championship since 2003, but Tuesday’s loss creates one certainty: They won’t run the regular-season table at 28-0 like last season.
“These girls have to find their own way,” Panthers coach Mike McCoy said, resisting the word “rebuilding” to describe replacing four graduated players, including three playing in college. “It’s not as much rebuilding as it is this team finding its own niche.”
Despite beating Riverdale 59-18 and Peachtree Ridge 67-45 in the first two rounds of the tournament, Parkview (2-1) was overwhelmed by unbeaten North Cobb (3-0) from the outset. The Panthers trailed 9-4 after one quarter, 26-13 after two, and by as much as 17 in the third. The Panthers’ 10-2 run brought them within 37-28 with 1:26 left in the third quarter, when Katie Carroll made one of two foul shots. But midway through the final period, the Warriors had rebuilt their lead to 20.
In contrast, Parkview’s boys, seeking their first state playoff appearance in three seasons, stuck with Jonesboro down to the wire, but lost for the first time in their championship game 53-46. The game was the Parkview boys’ second consecutive close game, following their 65-63 victory in Monday’s semifinal over Peachtree Ridge.
Alex Osborn and Carroll both scored four points for Parkview’s girls, while Kelsie Stanton added two. North Cobb was led by 14 points from Taylor Gordon and Amber Reeves, 12 by Kira Gordon and 10 by Aundrea Hurst.
Parkview’s boys led Jonesboro 39-34 a minute into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on. The Cardinals’ 17-5 run put them up 51-44 with 21 seconds left, and Parkview’s desperation shots wouldn’t fall. Delano Spencer’s 17 points and Elliott Abraham’s nine paced the Panthers (3-1), while Cameron Neysmith chipped in eight and Kameron Russell five. Jonesboro (3-0) got 17 from Rasham Suarez and 11 from Patrick Petty.