Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Parkview's Raven Johnson (4) is fouled by Wheeler's Cassidy Allen (14) beside Alaysia Mitchell (32) while driving to the basket during the first round of Class AAAAAA girls basketball state playoffs in Lilburn Tuesday. Parkview defeated Wheeler 73-48.
LILBURN -- All year, Parkview has become accustomed to fast-break points off steals.
In Tuesday's first-round game against Wheeler, the steals came early, just not the points. Still, Parkview pulled away in the second half to win 73-48 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
"We survived to play another day," Parkview head coach Tony Watkins said. "We didn't convert a lot of our early shots, but we won and that's all that matters at this point in the season."
The Panthers (29-0) struggled to hit their shots early, despite nine first-quarter steals.
Wheeler (8-14) took a 10-8 lead on a layup by Cassidy Allen, who finished with a game-high 27 points.
"We didn't scout her real well," Watkins said. "We knew she'd shoot the ball well, but not that well. We didn't take her right hand away and she got her shots."
However, two 3-pointers by Genesis Perrymond pushed the Panthers out to a 16-12 lead after the first quarter, one they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
The Panther lead started to expand late in the second quarter as a layup by Bernice McGriff and a 3-pointer by Perrymond at the buzzer put them up 33-23 at halftime.
"We're better when GG is making her shots," Watkins said.
Finally in the third quarter, the Panthers started converting on their opportunities, outscoring the Wildcats 25-10 in the quarter.
In fact, Parkview started the quarter on an 11-0 run, effectively putting Wheeler out of things, 44-23.
By the time Perrymond hit her fifth 3-pointer on the night, the Panthers had a 57-31 lead.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, most of the starters were out and the Panthers tied the Wildcats in points in the quarter with 15.
Parkview also got 15 points from Marissa Mandledove and 13 points from Makenna Pouengue.
The Panthers now get the winner of Norcross and South Forsyth on Friday.
"It's going to be another big game," Watkins said.