With two starters over 6 feet tall, Parkview’s goal against Central on Monday was to take full benefit of its height advantage.
And from the opening four minutes, it was quite evident that the Lady Vikings’ plan was a good one.
Parkview, the top-seeded team in the Class 5 District 12 tournament, pounded the glass, built a big lead early and never looked back in a 62-38 semifinal victory at Parkview.
“We wanted to keep the speed of the game at a pretty high tempo and we knew we had the height advantage, so we really wanted to pound it inside and we wanted to put a lot of pressure up on their guards and make it hard for them to score,” Parkview coach Keri Nichols said.
Parkview will next play Willard, a 37-33 semifinal winner over Neosho, in the district finals at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Parkview.
The Lady Vikings (17-9) jumped out to an early 10-0 lead thanks largely to their pressure, which forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter as Parkview led 19-7 after the first eight minutes.
“We pressured them knowing that they really couldn’t handle the ball well and that was a really big key,” Parkview junior Aubrey Buckley said. “We forced a lot of turnovers and got easy buckets on our end.”
A huge second quarter from Buckley keyed another surge by Parkview as the Lady Vikings built a 31-point lead (46-15) with one minute left before halftime.
Buckley scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second quarter alone off post ups, layups in transition plus several offensive rebounds and put backs.
“We know that rebounding is going to be very important in each game,” Nichols said. “We talk about extending possessions with offensive rebounds and getting a second, third or sometimes even a fourth shot.”
Buckley had 19 points and six boards by halftime as Parkview made 22 of 35 shots (63 percent) from the field in the first half.
Junior Savannah Rush led Central (5-23) with 15 points.
* Willard 37, Neosho 33: Neosho held the lead over Willard for more than three quarters when the Lady Tigers tried desperately to speed up the game.
And it worked.
Over the last quarter, Willard was able to force turnovers to narrow the margin and took its first lead (30-28) on a 3 from sophomore Ali Perry with 2:10 left in the game.
“Taking the lead was huge for us, because once we took the lead they had to force the action,” Willard coach Mike Percival said.
Willard (11-14) made 7 of 10 free throws over the final 1:41 to seal the win.
Perry scored 10 points to lead the Lady Tigers and sophomore Chelsey Henry had 12 points to lead Neosho (5-18).