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PikeView stands tall, eliminates defending champion Fairmont Senior, 59-55

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No. 6 PikeView held off a late rally from defending champion Fairmont Senior to prevail with a 59-55 win in the first game of the state tournament Wednesday at Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.

“This group of girls have fought hard and they have a big heart,” said PikeView coach Karen Miller, who prolonged her coaching career at least one more game. “Our defense has been amazing the last month and I’m just so proud of how we played from the beginning to end. It feels so good that we’re going to be playing Friday.”

As has been the case throughout the Panthers’ season, senior post players Laken McKinney and Shiloh Bailey led the way in helping to eliminate the third-seeded Polar Bears.

McKinney led all players with 25 points and 18 rebounds while making 10-of-14 field goals. Bailey also registered a double double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“We worked so hard to get to this point and I wanted to win so bad,” McKinney said.

With the game tied at 41 entering the fourth quarter, PikeView (18-8) used a 14-5 spurt over the first 2:50 of the period to take control.

McKinney’s jumper with 7:30 to play put the Panthers on top to stay, while Olivia Boggess followed with a three-pointer for a 46-42 lead. 

Leading 50-46, the Panthers got a conventional three-point play from McKinney, then stole the inbound pass and got a bucket from Olivia Boggess to go up nine.

However, Fairmont Senior (20-6) held the Panthers scoreless over the next four-plus minutes and crept to within 55-54 on a Marley Washenitz jumper with 1:09 left.

McKinney responded with a basket at the 57-second mark, before Washenitz and McKinney each split two free throws, leaving PikeView with a 58-55 lead.

Game Highlights

The Polar Bears had a final chance to tie, but a three from Washenitz was off the mark.

“We ran into a team that was very hungry,” FSHS head coach Corey Hines said. “They outrebounded us, but we still had our opportunities. Unfortunately we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities.

“To take out a champion, you have to beat a champion. They beat us and did an excellent job.”

Neither team led by six over the first three quarters — and the only time the differential was that large was when the Polar Bears were on top, 6-0.

But the Panthers settled in and held a 12-10 lead after one quarter, before closing the first half on a 6-1 spurt to lead 29-26.

In addition to their points and rebounds, Bailey and McKinney combined for nine blocks, with Bailey’s five a game-high total.

“If you come in their area, they’re going to block it,” Miller said.

The Panthers were far more efficient from the field, shooting 46 percent (25-of-54) compared to the Polar Bears making 22-of-73 shots, including no three-pointers on 12 attempts.

“Some of the angles we took on shots were really tough, because they have really good shot blockers,” Hines said.

The shooting disparity helped the Panthers overcome their 24 turnovers.

Washenitz led Senior with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Morgan Lilley also had a double double of 16 points and 13 boards.

PikeView will face No. 2 Winfield in a Friday semifinal.

PikeView postgame press conference

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