CHARLESTON —Defense has been the calling card for the PikeView High girls basketball team this season and it was once again against defending state champions Fairmont Senior Wednesday morning.

Using the stingy defense and a scoring outburst at the start of the fourth quarter PikeView upset Fairmont Senior 59-55 in the Class AA state quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

In its first state tournament since 2013 PikeView (18-8) relied on its man defense which held Fairmont Senior to 22-of-73 shooting for the game including missing all 12 of its three-point shots.

“Our man-to-man defense we have got so much better in the last month and we challenged them get up on them, don’t let them have threes,” PikeView head coach Karen Miller said.

Tied going into the fourth quarter the third-seeded Polar Bears (20-6) made a free throw to go up 42-21 but the sixth-seed Panthers responded with a made basket from Laken McKinney.

The PikeView lead extended to four on a three-pointer by Olivia Boggess. After trading baskets a three-point play from McKinney gave the Panthers a seven-point lead which they extended to nine.

From there the Panthers defense made life hard for the Polar Bears while the McKinney scored the final four points for PikeView.

“At the end of the day when they had to make the plays they made the plays,” Fairmont Senior head coach Corey Hines said.

McKinney led PikeView with 25 points including 11 in the final quarter. Shiloh Bailey scored 15 points as the duo caused havoc in the post on both ends of the court.

The duo grabbed a combined 30 rebounds including 14 on the offensive end that turned into second chance points.

Bailey had five blocks on the defensive end and McKinney turned away four shots.

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

With those two in the post the Polar Bears struggled to find open shots while attempting “I think if we would of taken a better angle and probably initiated contact some of the results might have been better but unfortunately, they did a good, their inside presence did a great job,” Hines said.

Marley Washenitz led Fairmont Senior with 22 points and added 11 rebounds. The only other scorer in double figures for the Polar Bears was Morgan Lilley with 16 points.

The Polar Bears were the smaller team but they were able to find success on the boards, especially on the offensive end.

Lilley grabbed nine offensive rebounds and had a total 13 board while Washenitz added in 11 rebounds.

PikeView still won the rebounding battle 52-45 due to its duo in the post but had to fight for every board.

PikeView fell behind early 6-0 as the players got rid of any nerves they had and started to settle into the game.

“Bring the team up here that’s never played you kind of think the nerves and how they’re going to handle things but they’ve handled everything excellent,” Miller said.

The full court press that Fairmont Senior employed caused problems for PikeView as it had 24 turnovers with Washenitz grabbing 10 steals.

Despite those turnovers the Panthers were able to find success close to the rim and made 46.3 percent of their shots even though they took 19 less than the Polar Bears. “We battled and we’ve had games where we’ve had high numbers of turnovers and we talked about where we wanted to not take the ball and we just battled through,” Miller said.

All five points for Boggess came in the final quarter with her main assignment being to defend Washenitz. Makenzee Shrewbury also had five points and Hannah Perdue chipped in six off the bench.

In the final season for Miller the Panthers have won only their second game at the state tournament in five seasons.

“It was just a whole different mentality going out there wanting it for each other and her,” Boggess said.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line as PikeView made seven- of-20 attempts while Fairmont Senior made 11-of-25.

“We did not make our free throws and down here you have to, you go 11-for-25 you don’t deserve to win the game at the end of the day,” Hines said.

***Due to COVID-19 concerns, PikeView girl’s state tournament games have been suspended.

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