Parklane girls shut down Columbia Academy

Parklane freshman Liberty Gillihan (44) dribbles up court past a Columbia Academy defender during Thursday’s non-district home contest. Gillihan led all Pioneers in scoring with 16 points. 

Just two days removed from a tough loss against MRA to open conference play, the Parklane ladies were looking to get back on track with a non-conference contest at home against Columbia Academy.

And despite going toe-to-toe with the Cougars for much of the first half, a big second half pushed the Pioneers ahead as they rode out a 50-39 win Thursday night.

“In the last two ballgames we kind of been starting slow,” Parklane head coach Bruce Allsup said. “I kind of addressed that tonight after the game. For us to beat the conference teams, we are going to have to learn to come out of the gate and play.”

The struggles began early for the Pioneers as they were held scoreless for the first 4:15 of the contest.

Liberty Gillihan registered the first points for Parklane with a 3-pointer from the corner.

After the make it helped her get into a groove as the freshman scored the next fivet points for the Pioneers.

Emme Wallace connected on a shot from beyond the arc in the closing moments of the first quarter giving Parklane a 13-11 lead.

Following the game, Gillihan said that hitting her first shot was a big boost for her offensively.

“That first 3-pointer, that always helps,” she said. “Once you hit that first one, you have the momentum and you have the energy to make more and I think that really helped me.”

In the second quarter, additional scorers joined the fray for Parklane.

Lana Johnson kicked off the scoring for the Pioneers, but it was answered by a 3-pointer and basket from Columbia which gave the visitors a 16-15 lead.

However a 6-3 run to close out the second quarter, put Parklane ahead 21-19.

For the second period in a row, Johnson put up the first points or the Pioneers but the Cougars kept pace.

Holding a 25-23 lead, Parklane got a big boost from Haven Hollis.

The junior forward used her aggressiveness in the paint to her advantage, putting up the next six points for the Pioneers making the score 31-23 in favor of the hosts.

With a nine-point lead heading into the fourth, Parklane got key scores from Hollis, Gigi Lindsey, Gillihan and Alli Albritton to help seal the win.

Gillihan led the Pioneers with 16 points while Hollis posted 12 and Johnson eight.

She said that balanced scoring is one of the keys that has helped the Pioneers thus far this season.

“I love it,” Gillihan said. “I love that one night, one of us will be on and another night someone else will do it. “It is just a great team effort.”

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