Parkview girls storm back for title

LILBURN -- Coming into the championship game of the Parkview Tip-off Classic, Parkview knew it would have its hands full with No. 8 Alpharetta.

For the first quarter and a half, the Raiders gave the Panthers that and then some as Alpharetta continued to break Parkview's full-court press, giving themselves shot opportunities.

However, in the end, it was the No. 9-ranked Panthers that stormed back in the second half to take the 42-35 win.

"It's a nice win for us," said Parkview head coach Tony Watkins. "It's nice to get a win on a night where your shots aren't falling. We started off slow, but our defense stayed constant and that's what you have to do on tough nights."

Alpharetta got all of its 13 first-quarter points from Alexis Alexander and Lauren Brown to jump out to a seven-point lead.

In the second quarter, the Raiders stretched their lead to eight points, but over a two-minute span, the Panthers' pressure created opportunities for them, as they closed to within 23-21 after a Marissa Mandeldove off-balance layup.

Alpharetta added a basket before the end of the half, taking a 25-21 lead into halftime.

"We knew if we could score, we could jump in the press," Watkins said. "We play a lot more players than they do, so we knew that we could eventually wear them down."

The second half saw Parkview pull back a little on the press, instead opting to get set in its defense. And it worked.

Parkview held the Raiders to four third-quarter points, taking its first lead of the game when Erika Joseph hit a lay-up, making the score 26-25. The lead continued to grow through the middle parts of the third quarter with Genesis Perrymond hitting a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Panthers a 31-27.

With a 33-29 after three quarters, Parkview employed a delay offense, passing the ball around looking for a small opening. This offense allowed the Panthers to hold the ball for 6:28 of the fourth quarter.

"Coach (Carl) Zimmerman's delay offense was a great call," Watkins said. "Erika had four fouls and we needed to keep her on the floor. We figured the longer we could hold the ball, the better off our team would be."

Although Alpharetta matched Parkview's first two baskets of the quarter with quick baskets of its own, in the end, it wasn't enough as Parkview continued to waste clock.

Parkview was led by Joseph with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Tatiana Wayne had eight points. AJ Jefferson added five steals and three rebounds.

Alpharetta was led by Alexander with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Brown had eight points and five steals.