PM Girls Conclude COVID-Abbreviated Season

PM Girls Conclude COVID-Abbreviated Season

PM JUNIOR Sydney Taylor dribbles while Grayson County’s Cheyenne Penn (23) and Marisa Halsey (5) guard her during the Blues’ regional semifinal win. Taylor scored six points. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

PM Girls Conclude COVID-Abbreviated Season
PM Girls Conclude COVID-Abbreviated Season

FIGHTING BLUE junior Grayce Henson puts up a shot while Grayson County’s Rebecca Cunningham guards her. Henson scored nine points and had four steals. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

PM Girls Conclude COVID-Abbreviated Season

PM’S SYDNEY Taylor prepares to pass the ball while closely defended. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Unbeaten GW Downs Blues

The Parry McCluer High School girls basketball team concluded its season with a 34-23 loss at undefeated George Wythe on Sunday evening in the Region 1C finals.

The Fighting Blues (7-1), who had won seven consecutive games and the Pioneer District title, struggled against the pressure defense of the Maroons (16-0), but PM did hold GW to its lowest point total of the season.

“Overall, we played pretty well,” said PM head coach Adam Gilbert. “They’re a pretty athletic team. They like to get out and run. Our plan was to try to slow the game down as much as we could.”

The Blues missed some shots when they had a chance to come back in the second half from an 18-11 halftime deficit, and turnovers were costly as well.

GW led 13-7 after the first quarter, but PM’s Grayce Henson hit two jump shots early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 13-11. Hailey Patel then hit a 3-pointer, and the Maroons made two free throws to build momentum going into halftime.

The Maroons increased their lead to 24-16 by the end of the third quarter and led by double digits for the rest of the game.

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Patel led all scorers with 10 points, while Meleah Kirtner added nine points for the Maroons and Pateon Phillipi chipped in seven.

Katie Claytor led PM with eights points, while Grayce Henson scored six points and Anna Claytor chipped in five.

The teams had to wait out a winter storm before playing. Originally, the championship game was scheduled for Thursday night, but the game was postponed until Sunday due to inclement weather.

“These kids have been resilient,” said Gilbert. “They’ve been flexible.” He said it was a successful season for the Blues.

After graduating nine seniors from the PM team that won its third consecutive state championship in 2019, the Blues had a rebuilding season last year, ending the season in the regional quarterfinals. This year, with the shortened and delayed season due to COVID-19, they took the next step.

“Credit to these kids and the time and the effort they put into it,” their coach remarked. “They worked hard. A lot of people didn’t expect the kids to get to the point where they’re at, but this group believes in themselves.”

“They carried the banner,” he added, noting the Blues have advanced to the final eight in the state in six of the last seven years. “They’re continuing on the success of the past championship teams.”

PM 42, GC 16

With a strong defensive effort, the Blues earned a 42-16 win over Grayson County in the Region 1C semifinals on Tuesday of last week at PM.

The Fighting Blues raced to a 15-4 lead and held Grayson County (6-6) scoreless in the second quarter. PM led 23-4 at halftime before the Cougars picked up their offense in the third quarter. The Blues led 32-14 at the end of the third quarter and got their reserves some playing time in the fourth quarter while holding GC to two points in the period.

Katie Claytor led PM with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, while Grayce Henson added nine points and four steals, and Sydney Taylor had six points, five assists and three steals. Kylie Pope led the Cougars with five points.

The Blues forced 24 Cougar turnovers and did a good job rebounding to get extra shot opportunities.

“Defensively, I thought we played pretty well,” said Gilbert. “Offensively, I thought we did a good job of getting the ball inside. The second quarter, when they went to the zone, we started to settle for some outside jumpers, but we were able to get the ball inside. The second half, we were able to pull them out of that zone.” The Cougars then went to man-to-man defense, and Gilbert said that played in the Blues’ favor.

Looking ahead, with noseniors on this year’s team, Gilbert is confident the Blues will improve. “We’ve got some work to do,” he said. “We’ve got the offseason to get better.”

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