LILBURN — Parkview enjoys wearing teams down with its defense.
The Panther girls will play 10 different players and pressure teams into hectic passes, sloppy choices and eventually, turnovers leading to points. But in their first round Class AAAAAA playoff basketball game against Centennial, they knew the Knights would eventually break through the pressure if they never relinquished the intensity.
The plan to attack in spurts near the end of the quarters worked in the first half and the result was a slim lead the Panthers never released on their way to a 59-50 win.
The No. 2 seed out of Region 8-AAAAAA will host a second round game on Monday against the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA Mountain View.
“They are a lot better than a No. 4 seed,” Parkview head coach Kirk Call said of Mountain View.
Parkview, runner-up by a slim margin to Archer for the top seed from 8-AAAAAA, is a stronger No. 2 seed than most.
“Playing teams like Archer makes us better,” Call said.
So does being at full strength.
Parkview got 15 points from senior Genesis Perrymond as the senior standout continues to work her way back to full strength from a broken collarbone suffered in early January. Her 15 points were a team high, hitting three 3-pointers along the way and also grabbing seven rebounds.
“Her rhythm, as far as what she’s doing is coming back,” Call said. “She gives us versatility. Having her back is big for us.”
And it wasn’t just Perrymond. Seven different Panthers scored with Makenna Pouengue scoring 12 and Raven Johnson adding 10. Vicki Harris finished with eight points, four blocks and 10 rebounds.
“(So many threats) definitely opens doors for us,” Call said. “And for teams scouting us tonight they know (Perrymond) is back. They have to worry about her.”
But Friday’s win belongs first to the defense.
It all started in the first minute of the first quarter. Leading by one point, Parkview picked up the energy in its zone defense, immediately forcing three quick Centennial turnovers. A steal under the basket led to the first of two layups for Pouengue and the small burst gave the Panthers a 17-12 lead.
They quickly opened the second quarter with a steal, but gave the ball right back to the Knights. The turnover led to three straight 3s by Jada Triplett to open the second quarter as Centennial shot back into the lead 21-19. Centennial hit four 3s in the second quarter, but it was Parkview, again, pulling away in the final minute. The Panthers had returned to take a one point lead on the strength of Perrymond’s rebound put-back layup and a 3-pointer. Again, the Panthers picked up the defensive intensity scoring six points off two more Knights turnovers.
“That’s what we were looking for,” Call said of the small runs. “That was the plan going in.”
A scary moment came in the final seconds of the half. Perrymond drove for a layup off a missed Centennial shot and took a hard foul at the legs by Triplett, ruled flagrant by the officials. The senior landed hard on her side and grimaced on the landing, bringing the coaching staff and trainer near midcourt with memories of the recent bone break. Put Perrymond popped up and sank her two free throws.
“She’s a tough kid,” Call said.
Parkview took a 36-27 lead into the locker room and held on the rest of the game. The balanced scoring thrwarted nine 3s from Centennial and 19 points from Triplett. The one struggle for Parkview came from the free throw line where the typically strong Panthers made just 7 of 16. Call put the blame on the four games the Panthers have played in the last five days wearing down their legs. He said he ordered the players to stay off their feet and gave them Saturday off.
“I’m going to put GPS on them,” he said. “They’ve got to rest.”