By JONATHAN GREENE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
It wasn’t pretty, but PikeView was able to accomplish their goal in the Region 3, Section 2 semifinals.
The Lady Panthers led the entire game and held off a pesky Mount View squad 44-36 on Tuesday night at Princeton Senior High School to advance to the sectional championship game.
“I guess it was nerves and being in the first sectional game,” PikeView head coach Karen Miller said. “We finally settled down and started to get the shots we wanted. We really didn’t have an answer for [Jordan Younger], but I think we controlled [Ashleigh Belfiore] well.
“Overall, we thought we could do some things, but we had to change our offense there in the latter part of the third quarter. Finally, we were able to get a few shots we needed. Our foul shots were the key in the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Knights (12-7) kept it close for the opening quarter and a half before PikeView (12-10) took a 25-13 lead into the break. Mount View fought back in the second half to get within four points, but they could not get any closer. The Lady Panthers hit 11-of-14 free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
“It’s tough to see the game turn into a game to be won at the foul line,” Mount View head coach Yvonne Brown said. “Our girls played hard and they gave it their best shot. I think they did well to hold PikeView to 44 points.
“It’s a lot different from when we played them a few years ago and they beat us by 50 or so points. My girls did a great job and I told them so. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplish this year. I just hate it for the seniors, because they can’t comeback and do it again.”
PikeView opened the game with Hope Nester going 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Jordan Younger made it 3-2 after a lay-in. Nester then hit Courtney White underneath for an easy score.
The teams continued to trade baskets before Nester took a steal the length of the court to give the Lady Panthers a 9-6 advantage after one.
A putback from Younger kept Mount View close and it stayed that way until Lyndsay Hatfield hit a turnaround. The sophomore forward then hit Crysta Meekins on the fastbreak as PikeView began to open up the lead.
The Lady Knights could not get anything going offensively and the Panthers took advantage. Laura Hill hit two free throws and Bethany Bryant drilled a three. Hatfield finished the quarter with a jumper and PikeView took a 12-point lead into the locker room.
“The girls, some where a little confused about what offense that I wanted from them,” Brown said. “I tried to call a timeout so we could all get on the same page. When we did, they went back and our offense started to working for us. We started running the plays like we should.”
The Lady Panthers kept the margin at 12 for most of the third quarter as they executed a stall offense to near perfection. PikeView though had no answer for Jordan Younger as she had putback and two lay-ins to help Mount View make it a 29-23 game.
After the Lady Panthers held the ball for the final two minutes of the third, they opened the fourth with the same strategy. Only this time they were able to convert when Hatfield hit a jumper at the top of the key.
Younger kept battling and was doing all she could to keep the Lady Knights close. She hit a bank shot then added a two more lay-ins to make it 33-29 with 3:51 left.
“Inside, she’s a dominant force,” Brown said of Younger. “At the beginning, she wasn’t able to get the ball like she should have. At halftime, I told them they have to feed the ball in there to Jordan so that she can get score and get an and one. That happened for us in the second half.”
PikeView would only convert one more shot from the floor in the final minutes, but Nester went 8-of-10 from the line to help the Lady Panthers hold onto the lead.
Younger and Ashleigh Belfoire were able to put six more points up for Mount View, but it wasn’t enough.
Younger led all scorers with 23 points. Belfiore was limited to just two points by PikeView’s defense led by Hill.
Nester’s 20 points paced PikeView. Hatfield added 10 points. No other player had more than five points for the Panthers.
“I tell you what, Jordan Younger is unreal. She’s a tough post player,” Miller commented after the game. “Mount View had a good season. They had nothing to put their heads down.
“We didn’t get to play them this year, but we had an opportunity to watch them. They’re a good team. They gave us everything they could and they didn’t quit. I’m just proud of our girls on their defensive effort.”
For Miller it was a great birthday present, but she’s looking for a bigger prize in the sectional championship Thursday. PikeView ended Summers County’s run last season and they will look to start a run of their own against the winner of James Monroe and Bluefield. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
“Our offense is going to have to come around a little bit,” Miller said. “If that does, we’ll be alright.”
At Princeton Senior High School
MOUNT VIEW (12-7)
Ashleigh Belfiore 2, Jordan Younger 23, Shyrell Johnson 6, Shamecca Perkins 0, Gezelle Brown 5, Victoria Bright 0, Keisha Johnson 0. Totals- 14 8-23 36.
Laura Hill 2, Bethany Bryant 3, Hope Nester 20, Madison May 0, Lauryn Hatfield 0, Crysta Meekins 2, Alexis May 2, Lyndsay Hatfield 10, Courtney 5, Savannah Runion 0. Totals- 12 19-24 44.
Mount View.............................6 7 10 13 — 36
PikeView................................9 16 4 15 — 44
3 pt field goals: MV none; PV 1 (Bryant). Fouled out: MV, Perkins.