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Parkview survives, earns playoff berth

by JEFF KRUPSAW SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | February 28, 2020 at 2:21 a.m.

Four quarters of high-intensity basketball didn't decide anything during Thursday night's win-and-in 5A-Central matchup between Little Rock Parkview and Pine Bluff.

Neither did four minutes of overtime at Parkview High School's Ripley Arena.

Finally, after four more minutes, with four players having fouled out -- two on each side -- the issue was resolved.

Parkview, which blew a seven-point lead with 27 seconds left in regulation, rallied from a five-point deficit in the second overtime to defeat Pine Bluff 74-72.

The victory gave the Patriots (12-15, 7-7) the conference's fourth seed in the Class 5A state tournament next week in Russellville.

"We've had a season where we've been up and down all year, but we're battle-tested," Parkview Coach Scotty Thurman said. "Played some tough teams. Our conference probably the toughest in the state.

"They're young, they're battle-tested, and one thing I'll say about them is they never quit."

Neither did Pine Bluff (11-11, 7-7).

The Zebras led 17-10 early, fell behind by 11 midway in the second quarter and still trailed 61-54 with 24.7 seconds to play in regulation.

Coach Billy Dixon coached his players up until the end.

"We were down seven, with 24 seconds left, and I told them we're not giving up," Dixon said. "Anything can happen."

Senior point guard Logan Smith did everything possible with a basket to cut the lead to 61-56, then an assist to set up Taiyeon Harris' three-pointer with 11.2 seconds.

A steal set up a final shot for Pine Bluff and Smith, who finished with 29 points, hit a runner to force overtime.

Pine Bluff went from near-certain defeat in regulation to almost-certain victory in the second overtime, leading 71-66 when things started going awry.

And that was with seniors Ryan Gorden (20 points) and Keighland Young (14 points) on the bench with five fouls.

That's when sophomore Cameron Wallace stepped up with two free throws and a rebound basket to help turn a 71-67 deficit into a 73-71 lead.

Thurman said winning the state championship is Parkview's goal, far-fetched as that might have appeared several weeks ago.

"I feel great," Thurman said. "I'm going to enjoy this until midnight. Enjoy this a little more tomorrow. These kids have been great kids. Every kid in this locker room has been respectful.

"They've done everything I've asked them to do. They stayed with me. And now we're going to the state tournament."

"That's the kind of player he needs to be for us to win the state championship."



Little Rock Parkview (12-8, 10-4) got 15 points from Dynasty McGraw, while Jordyn Williams scored 11.

Pine Bluff, led by T'Ceana Jeffrey's 9 points, concludes its season at 2-20 overall, 0-14 in the 5A Central.

Sports on 02/28/2020

Print Headline: Parkview survives, earns playoff berth


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