Gallery by Heather Belcher
Gardner – PikeView coach Tracy Raban knows what she’ll get from all-stater Hannah Perdue each game. Finding players to step up and help her consistently has often been the issue.
Friday night her underclassmen answered the call.
With 4.4 seconds left in regulation, freshman Riley Meadows made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 47, sending it to overtime where the Panthers defeated Beckley 55-51 in Gardner.
It was redeeming ending for a player who was removed from the starting lineup after a rough stretch.
“Riley’s had a rough week,” Raban said. “I pulled her from the starting lineup. She struggled the last week shooting like 19 percent from the floor so I pulled her from the starting lineup to wake her up. We talked to her about it before the game – she got in her head a little bit against Midland Trail for being pulled and I told her that her time’s going to come. I said ‘you’re going to be on the floor when it matters’ and little did I know it was going to be that big of a situation.
“I just told her ‘We need one. Sink one and we’ll get the second one after that’ and she stepped up huge as a freshman. I know she can do it and that’s why she’s in the ball game.”
Coming into the evening the matchup was one of teams heading in different directions. Beckley (8-11) was riding a six-game winning streak while PikeView (12-7) was 2-2 in its last four games. Early that was evident.
The Lady Flying Eagles built a 13-6 lead after a quarter, expanding their advantage to 11 when Adriana Law converted a pair of free throws. Perdue was there to answer the call, scoring seven of PikeView’s next nine to slash the deficit to four.
Olivia Ziolkowski temporarily deflated the momentum with a corner 3 but another bucket form Perdue kept the hosts within striking distance, trailing 27-21 at the intermission.
A 3-pointer from Law to open the half threatened to break PikeView’s spirits but Perdue pulled up from deep on the other end for an immediate answer.
The back-and-forth affair continued into the fourth with Beckley attempting to land the knockout blow, shooting 50 percent from 3 (6 of 12) but Perdue consistently answered.
She wasn’t alone as Meadows scored the last seven points of regulation for PikeView, helping the Panthers rally twice from a pair of four-point deficits.
The Flying Eagles didn’t help their own cause.
After Perdue was called for an offensive foul with her team down 47-45 the hosts were forced to foul. Beckley missed the front end of a one-and-one, allowing PikeView one last shot with eight seconds left. It set up perfectly for Meadows who snuck in behind the defense and drew the foul that helped tie the game.
In overtime Beckley jumped out to a four-point lead courtesy of Lataja Creasy and Abby Dillon but Perdue kept the Panthers afloat with her third 3 of the evening.
“We didn’t buckle down defensively,” Beckley coach Brian Nabors said. “We didn’t play well as a team and we didn’t do a good job on-ball defending. Perdue’s a heckuva player. She can play, she can straight up hoop. I watched her grow, ya know what I’m saying? She can play. She was the best player on the floor tonight and she wanted it.”
With the game still hanging in the balance another young Panther stepped up in Brooke Craft. The sophomore nailed three of her four free throw attempts in the extra period to put PikeView up 53-51. A pair of Beckley turnovers followed by a free throw each from Perdue and Meadows salted the game.
“We talked at halftime that we were going to use this at practice,” Raban said. “This is a great tuneup game to get us ready for the next couple of weeks because we want to be playing the next couple of weeks. We knew we were going to see a Woodrow team that’s going to be down in the state tournament. We’re going to focus on the offensive end of the floor and play with confidence. I think those kids started trusting and believing themselves and everybody stepped up. Cat (Farmer) played great defense, Brooke stepped up and knocked some free throws down. Take away Perdue and we’ve got four other ones that are pretty good if they get going.”
Perdue led all scorers with 24 points while Dillon led Beckley with 18.
PikeView concludes the regular season at 12-7 and will host Independence in the opening round of the sectional tournament on Tuesday. Beckley finishes the regular season at 8-11, seeing its six-game winning streak come to an end. The Lady Flying Eagles will host Princeton on Wednesday in the opening round of the sectional tournament.
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B: 15 12 11 9 4 – 51
PV: 6 15 15 11 8 – 55
Lataja Creasy 7, Olivia Ziolkowski 7, Josie Cross 2, Abby Dillon 18, Somalia Nelson 2, Adriana Law 15
Hannah Harden 8, Brooke Craft 7, Cat Farmer 2, Hannah Perdue 24, Anyah Brown 3, Riley Meadows 11
3-point goals – B: 6 (Creasy, Ziokkowski, Dillon, Law 3); PV: 3 (Perdue 3)