Shots finally fall as Parkview pulls away for region title

SNELLVILLE -- For the better part of three quarters of the Region 8-AAAAA girls basketball tournament championship game, neither Parkview nor Brookwood could seem to buy a basket.

But finally, the top-seeded and No. 2 state-ranked Panthers began to heat up late in the third quarter and into the fourth.

Fighting off foul trouble, junior point guard Marissa Mandledove scored six of her 11 points in the final frame, while Parkview kept up the defensive pressure it had applied most of the game to finally pull away for a 53-37 victory Saturday at Shiloh High School.

The title not only extends the Panthers' season-long winning streak to 28 straight games and sends them into the first round of the Class AAAAA state tournament as the region's top seed, it also avenges a loss to the rival Broncos (16-12) in last year's finals.

And they did it thanks to better scoring opportunities in the second half, especially for Mandeldove and Erika Joseph, who scored a team-high 15 points, providing eight of the Panthers' 14 first-half points.

Those points helped keep them in the game after Brookwood took a 16-14 lead at the break -- the first time all season Parkview had trailed at interimssion.

"We just couldn't get the ball to go in the basket," Parkview coach Tony Watkins said. "And we had one offensive rebound in the first half. But we came out and played hard in the second half. I'm proud of them."

A pair of Joseph free throws gave Parkview its first lead since midway through the second quarter at 24-23 with 4:47 left in the third.

But that lead was still just 28-26 after a pair of free throws by Courtney Gardner, who scored a game-high 18 points to lead Brookwood, with 1:58 left in the period.

But Joseph completed a three-point play on Parkview's next trip down the floor, and Helena Pouengue added a steal and a layup seconds later to send the Panthers into the fourth quarter leading 33-26.

That's when Mandeldove, who picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter, re-entered and had a big impact, hitting a free throw, a 3-pointer and a transition layup and adding a steal during a 9-2 run that pushed the Parkview lead into double digits for good at 42-28 with five minutes left.

Joseph also led Parkview, which plays host to Duluth in next week's opening round at state, with nine rebounds and six steals, while the Panthers also got 12 points from Genesis Perrymond.

Rebecca Walker also had a big game for Brookwood, which welcomes Mill Creek next weekend, with 11 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Alliah Jackson added 10 rebounds and three assists.

South Gwinnett 36, Archer 35

The Comets (18-10) trailed by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, but rallied to earn the one-point victory and the region's No. 3 seed and a date with North Gwinnett in the first round of state playoffs next weekend.

Alysia Rogers led the way for South with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Kayla Rogers posted a game-high 12 points, and Danicka Brown chipped in two points, five rebounds and six steals for the Tigers (18-10), who will be the region's fourth seed and travel to Region 7-AAAAA champion and two-time defending state champion Norcross.