Princeton Times

Sports

December 21, 2012

Lady Panthers overtaken in cat fight

PRINCETON — It’s been a tough start to the season for the PikeView Lady Panthers.

A year after making their second straight trip to Charleston, the Lady Panthers have battled their way to a 2-3 start.

Their schedule has been far from easy with four Class AAA schools and defending AA champion Westside making their first five games.

On Tuesday night, PikeView had a showdown with top 10-ranked and rival Princeton. The Lady Panthers led by seven at the break, but they couldn’t hold on as the Tigerettes pulled away for a 68-54 win.

“I thought our girls played tough,” PikeView head coach Karen Miller said. “They didn’t quit. I’m proud. If our shots fell more in the second half, it might have been different. Princeton has a great group of athletes. They execute well.”

Hope Nester paced PikeView with 15 points. Courtney White added nine points, while Madison May and Alexis May each finished with seven points.

The Lady Panthers didn’t have an answer for Marshall-signee McKenzie Akers. The senior poured in 35 points — 31 in the second half — to lead Princeton’s rally.

“This is a good test for our girls,” Miller said. “This is the third triple A team we’ve played. We’ve played Shady, Spring Valley and now Princeton. December is tough for us. We have Nicholas County on the 28th which will be tough too.”

PikeView has defeated Shady Spring (70-38) and Lincoln County (65-52). The Lady Panthers fell to Spring Valley (53-87) and Westside (34-74).

Spring Valley and Princeton are both top-10 ranked teams in AAA. Westside and Lincoln County were both ranked in the preseason top 10 in AA.

PikeView visits Nicholas County, another top 10 team in AA, on December 28. The Lady Panthers still have games against perennial AA powers Summers County and Scott along with two match-ups against Woodrow Wilson and another showdown with Westside.

“To me, you want to play a tough schedule to help the team for postseason play,” Miller said. “Playing a light schedule won’t help you, but playing a tough schedule like we’re playing will tremendously help our team. There really is no easy game on our schedule.”

The schedule has been made even tougher with standout Hope Nester coming off of surgery this summer. Miller said before the season started that Nester would be limited in December.

In their game against Princeton, Nester left the game earlier in obvious pain and pointing to her knee. She did not return to the game.

“We don’t know really know,” Miller said after the game about Nester’s injury. “We’ll find out. When you don’t you have your point guard out there which hurts.

“They look for her out there. She’s limited and that’s what we’ve been trying to do. I don’t know what they prognosis is.”

•••

For the PikeView boy’s team, the start to their season hasn’t been any smoother.

The Panthers took on traditional powers Wyoming East and Bluefield to open the year.

PikeView hung tight earlier in both games before fading down the stretch as they dropped both games.

Logan McKinney, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, leads the team in scoring with 9.5 points per game. Zach Meadows, a 6-foot-5 junior, scored 19 points in their opener against Wyoming East. Sophomore point guard Jason Weitzel has been solid in the first two games with nine points in each.

The Panthers had nine days off before playing Thursday night in Shady Spring holiday tournament. PikeView is scheduled to complete the Shady Spring tournament Friday before heading to Chapmanville’s holiday tournament on Dec. 27-28 to close out 2012.

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