AM
Panther pride
Bluefield (40) Vs. PikeView (49)
By GEORGE THWAITES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON — The PikeView boys basketball team has spent the last four seasons chasing Bluefield.
In Wednesday night's Region 3, Section 2 championship game the Beavers finally got a chance to chase the Panthers — and at a pace the Panthers chiefly dictated.
PikeView jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and never trailed again, going on to collect a 49-40 victory over Bluefield at Princeton's Coach Ralph Ball Court.
"It's been a long season. We've worked hard for this. We've got to keep focus," said Panthers post Wayne Brookman. "Four straight, they won it here. It was our turn."
Next Thursday, PikeView will host the loser of this Friday's sectional showdown between Wyoming East and Westside. Bluefield will travel to face Friday's winner.
The Beavers (14-7) struck first with a transition layup by talented sophomore guard Mookie Collier on Bluefield's first possession of the game. Tyler Boyd answered with a 3-pointer from the corner that put the Panthers out front for good.
PikeView's halfcourt defense neutralized the Beavers next three possessions by forcing a couple of turnovers and taking a charge off Bluefield post Dyon Wright.
Hunter Hill, who had 13 points and two assists for the Panthers (18-5) hit back-to-back 3-pointers on either side of a Beavers timeout to give PikeView a 13-2 lead with 4:20 remaining in the quarter.
Bluefield turned up its own defensive effort, but the Beavers shot 1-for-10 from the field for the duration of the first, only getting a pair of Collier free throws before a four-minute stretch of mutual scorelessness.
"That's the poorest we've shot all year, but there's a reason for that. They play good defense," said Bluefield head coach Buster Large, whose team was held to its lowest offensive output of the season.
The Beavers continued to trail 19-10 at the half and, while managing to cut PikeView's lead to two possessions midway through the third period, could not close the gap. The Panthers got a baseline floater from Tyler Cecil and one spoiled precious Bluefield possession later, got another trifecta from Hill for the 29-20 lead with 3:03 remaining in the period.
Shadowed by Boyd, Collier fought his way to the hoop to lead Bluefield with 18 points. He thought the Panthers did a good job keeping the Beavers out of sync on both ends of the floor.
"They slowed us down whenever we were on defense, to get us running the clock out some. When we were on offense they were playing really good defense and talking (to each other)," said Collier. "It was really hard for us to score and it was very hard for us to adjust on defense to their milking the clock."
Time after time in the halfcourt sets it looked as if the Beavers might finally have a PikeView player trapped. But everyone seemed to know where everyone else was. There was nearly always an outlet.
"Our offense is about time and space. It's not so much having to do a million things to get somebody a shot," said PikeView head coach Colton Thompson. "We've just got skilled players and we try to spread the floor and everybody be on the same page. We let them take advantage of the skills that they worked really hard on. I think that really showed when we spread it."
Seth Meadows hit one 3-pointer for the Panthers, finishing with 12 points. He had five rebounds, an assist and a steal.
"We tried to control the tempo as best we could. In the end it just helped get us the win," said Meadows, who was still around to sink PikeView's last two free throws with 10 seconds remaining in the game despite having collected his fourth foul on a charge with 35 seconds remaining in the third period.
Brookman had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Panthers, factoring in the fourth-quarter play that took the starch out of the Beavers for good.
Boyd, who put PikeView up 37-29 on his trey with 4:35 remaining in the game, penetrated at 3:28 for a deft interior dish to Brookman. The Panthers big man finished through contact with Wright, whose dismay at the call was deemed too vocal by the officials. Brookman sank the and-one. Hill sank both technical free throws for the 42-31 lead. While PikeView failed to convert on the extra possession, the following half-minute burned was nevertheless Bluefield momentum lost.
"Playing as a team, we're unstoppable. Whenever Seth drives, kicks it out, I drive, draw the defense and hit Wayne, we're a good team. I think we're something special right now," said Boyd, who finished with eight points and five rebounds.
Jeremy Thompson hit three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points for the Beavers.
"PikeView outplayed us in every phase of the game. We had a horrible shooting first half and we make no excuses whatsoever. I thought they had a great game plan," said Large. "We've got to move on and get ready for one more game. It's either that or we can start preparing for next year."

At Coach Ralph Ball Court
PIKEVIEW (18-5)
Todd Vest 0 0-2 0, Tyler Boyd 2 2-2 8, Seth Meadows 3 5-7 12, Hunter Hill 3 4-4 13, Sebastian Mann 0 0-0 0, Tyler Cecil 2 0-0 4, Dakota Stilwell 0 0-0 0, Wayne Brookman 5 2-3 12. Totals 15 13-18 49.
BLUEFIELD (14-7)
Jeremy Thompson 3 4-4 13, Mookie Collier 7 4-4 18, Devin Goins 1 0-2 2, Dominick Taxley 2 0-0 4, Tyler Early 0 0-0 0, Dyon Wright 1 0-0 2, Jamere Edwards 0 0-0 0, Jaray Williams 0 1-4 1. Totals 14 9-14 40.
PikeView.......................13 6 13 17 — 49
Bluefield.........................4 6 15 15 — 40
3-point goals: PikeView 6 (Boyd 2, Meadows, Hill 3), Bluefield 3 (Thompson)
Game Scoreboard
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Bluefield 4 6 15 15 0 40
PikeView 13 6 13 17 0 49
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