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Panthers' post play hands Broncos first loss

Photo by Andrew McMurtrie

Photo by Andrew McMurtrie

SNELLVILLE — Late in Parkview’s last meeting with Brookwood’s girls, the Panthers noticed they had an advantage underneath the basket.

From the start Tuesday, they exploited it.

Parkview’s posts of Erika Joseph and Mia Marshall took turns dominating the halves but their combined 22 points and 20 rebounds paved the way for the Panthers’ 61-47 upset of No. 1-ranked and previously unbeaten Brookwood. Add in the schools’ rivalry and the win only gets sweeter.

“It’s always a tight game,” said Parkview head coach Mike McCoy. “That’s what makes this rivalry so much fun. Regardless the outcome.”

McCoy, obviously, prefers outcomes in his favor. Parkview finished last year’s regular season undefeated and it made sure Brookwood didn’t match the results.

“We never thought our first loss would be as late as it was,” said Brookwood coach Scott Terry. “Hopefully we have a lot of basketball left to play. I would rather this come this week than next week.”

With the Region 8-AAAAA tournament set to begin next week, the loss didn’t steal the No. 1 seed from the Broncos (22-1, 14-1 region), but gives the tournament host Panthers (20-4, 14-2) something to build on.

“It’s a big confidence boost for us going into region,” Marshall said. “We have some momentum.”

“Even though it didn’t make a difference, we are proud that we could beat them,” Joseph said.

The win started with Joseph.

On a double-double night, Joseph scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half of her 12-rebound game.

“Their posts did a good job,” Terry said. “They outplayed us tonight.”

And in the second half, when Brookwood double teamed her every time she touched the ball, the scoring shifted to Marshall.

Seven of Marshall’s nine points came in the second half to go with her eight rebounds.

“We knew we had their posts outsized,” Marshall said of Brookwood. “That made a lot of the difference tonight.”

But Brookwood didn’t get this far in the season unbeaten without some fight.

Trailing by nine at halftime Brookwood scored the first five points of the second half, eventually tying the game at 34-34 off an Autumn Adams basket set up by a quick pass from Courtney Gardner. Adams ended the night with 10 points, equaling the high-score of Broncos’ standout Katie Mallow.

The game wasn’t tied for long. Parkview answered with an 18-1 run over six-plus minutes building a 52-35 lead.

“We just needed to play our game and keep playing under control,” Marshal said of weathering Brookwood’s rally. “We had to do what we wanted to do, not what they wanted us to do.”

And the interior game created open shots for Parkview’s guards. The Panthers hit a pair of 3s as they pulled away, one each from Marissa Mandeldove and Katie Carroll. Despite the dominance of the inside game, it was Carroll leading all scorers with 17 points, but 12 came in the second half as Brookwood turned its attention to the paint. Neph Leonidas scored 11 off the bench for Parkview.

Parkview boys 69, Brookwood 63

Clinging to a three-point lead with a minute to play, Parkview boys scored four straight points in a furious final minute to beat Brookwood 69-63.

The four-point explosion included a fast-break dunk by Delano Spencer that brought the visiting crowd to its feet. In a game that was nearly knotted throughout, the final minute proved to be the difference.

Kameron Russell led Parkview with 22 points and Spencer followed with 15. Brookwood’s Thomas Higginbotham led all scorers with 23 and Malcolm Hannah scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter.