GARDNER — The threes were wild on Tuesday night in Gardner.
The PikeView Panthers hit eight treys and Independence sank nine in a shootout that came down to the game’s last attempt.
One final three-point try by Indy missed the rim at the end and PikeView took its second straight victory, 69-66.
“I think all the fans got their money’s worth tonight,” PikeView head coach Colton Thompson said. “It was definitely an exciting basketball game.”
Four players scored in double figures for PikeView (4-6), led by Peyton Meadows, whose four treys helped him reach 19 points. Cameron Ellis was 12 for 16 at the free throw line on his way to 18 points.
Senior Jarred Cannady also had four three-pointers and concluded with 20 points for Independence (7-4). Michael McKinney added 12.
The first-year head coach of Independence, Mike Green, said, “Jarred’s a solid player. He’s our senior leader. As you could see in the first half, how he goes is how we go. He played outstanding defensively; he played with passion tonight, and he really led us.”
“We’re young,” Green said. “We’ve got some great athletes, who are baseball and football players. They’re just not basketball players yet. We’re trying to teach them. We’re trying to build something here at Independence. I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
Cannady hit three treys in the game’s first four minutes and tossed in a jumper from the elbow to give the Patriots a 20-12 lead in the first quarter. The Panthers climbed back to take their first lead, 27-26, with 6:43 remaining in the first half.
Thompson said, “We challenged (our team) defensively, and a lot of times tough defense sparks the offense. Good team basketball and good ball movement led to some easy shots.”
The Panthers were up 43-37 at halftime, after limiting their guests to 4-for-12 from the field in the second quarter. But the Patriots outscored PikeView 17 to 11 in the third period and entered the final quarter tied 54-54.
At halftime, Thompson said he told the Panthers to “just be ready for that aggressiveness (from Independence). They hit a couple of big shots and erased that deficit very quickly.”
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, PikeView sparkplug Kobey Taylor-Williams limped off the floor and straight into the locker room. He did not return to the playing floor, but watched his teammates from just behind the bench.
The Panthers regained the lead on Chase Watkins’ only three-pointer of the night, 57-56, with 6:22 left in the game. PikeView did not score another field goal, but took time off the clock by controlling the ball, and going 12 for 20 at the free throw line the rest of the way.
“We knew they had an arsenal of shooters, and that they could score quick if you allowed them to shoot,” Thompson said. “Both teams had a few 3s rattle out. The defense on the perimeter was good both ways, too.
Thompson said his team “did a good job managing the game situation and the clock, and we hit just enough to squeak by with a win.”
PikeView connected on 25 of 39 free throws while Independence made 5 of 10. The Patriots were whistled for 28 fouls.
Green said, “I told (the team) tonight, ‘This one’s on me.’ We had a chance there at the end, and I don’t want them holding their heads.”
The Panthers faced cross-town rivals PSHS on Thursday, scores were not available at press time. Tonight they stay in the county when they tip-off against Bluefield at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Thompson said, “That’s two big rivals back-to-back, so it’s nice to ride a two-game win streak into it.”
Tom Bone is a freelance reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and the Princeton Times. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org