Gardner – Generally there’s a little rust in the season opener.
PikeView instead instead like it was in midseason form.
Senior guard Hannah Perdue scored 32 points as the Panthers downed Winfield 68-50 Monday night in Gardner.
The host Panthers were hot from the tip, opening the game on a 9-3 run and canning 10 of their 17 shot attempts in the opening frame for a 22-9 advantage after a quarter.
“They’ve worked hard,” PikeView coach Tracy Raban said. “Getting that taste of Charleston last year, they’ve been hungry ever since April of last year. We practiced for three or four weeks against each other and they were ready to see a different opponent and they were just focused and ready to play tonight.”
Winfield on the other hand looked the part of a team playing its first game.
The Generals were 2-of-9 from the field in the first quarter, making just one of their six shot attempts from inside the arc.
It didn’t help that Perdue was hot from the jump, scoring 11 in the opening frame. The Generals’ pressure defense failed to keep the ball out of her hands and several times they lost her when it was broken.
“Honestly we saw film on Hannah and we knew that’s what makes them go,” Winfield coach Derron Williams said. “For whatever reason – we were anxious and we were nervous and I think that was blatantly obvious right there and we lost her a couple times. She’s a good player and we knew she was a good player. But honestly to see her in person, she’s a goooood player. She commanded it, she commanded her offense and she made some tough shots. She was the best player on the court tonight.”
The first-quarter effort was more than enough for the Panthers who were outscored 14-12 in the second quarter but kept outscored the visitors 32-27 in the second half to keep maintain a comfortable distance.
While Perdue led the show for the Panthers, her teammates played their parts, capitalizing when Generals charged her. Brooke Craft was second in the team in scoring with 10 points but Anyah Brown, Haley Justice and Riley Meadows each cleared seven points in the win.
“They settled in,” Raban said of the supporting cast. “They got a whole season last year as freshmen – the other three starters. They settled in and they’ve connected with Hannah and Anyah. We’ve got that team chemistry going and I’ve got three other freshmen on the bench that came in and were able to give us a little tonight. We’re getting a little bit deeper than we were last year and they all just got a taste of it and they’re ready to play.”
The depth was key for the Panthers throughout the second quarter.
Justice and Meadows came off the bench to provide some relief when Winfield’s constant pressure wore the Panthers’ starters down at points. Meadows, a freshman score three of her seven points in the frame.
“We just work hard in practice and drill it every day,” Raban said. “I always tell them every drill we do, we do it for a purpose. Every drill has a game-like situation in it. In practice we even up the teams and I don’t go JV vs. varsity. We even up the squads and we’ve had some battles in practice. I think it paid off that we were ready for the pressure and intensity that we were going to get from Winfield. They executed and believed in what we’re doing and did what I asked them to do.”
Still it was a stellar season debut for Perdue who racked up eight steals to go along with her 32 points.
“Getting ready for college I knew I had to improve coming into this season,” Perdue said. “I want to play like I’m going to be in a college game so that’s how I look at it and try to approach it.”
Winfield all-stater Meghan Taylor led the Generals with 23 points in the loss.
The Panthers move to 1-0 and will play Logan at Logan Friday in a rematch of last year’s Class AAA quarterfinal matchup.
Meghan Taylor 23, Lindsey Moore 2, Anto Johnson 5, Kaitlyn Sayre 11, Kennedy Dean 2, Minna Oglesby 2
Hannah Harden 1, Brooke Craft 10, Hannah Perdue 32, Jaelynn Shrewsbury 2, Haley Justice 7, Anyah Brown 9, Riley Meadows 7
W: 9 14 14 13 – 50
PV: 22 12 18 16 – 68
3-point goals – W: 4 (Taylor 3, Sayre 1); PV: 5 (Perdue 3, Justice 1, Brown 1).