The Pioneer girls’ basketball team didn’t exactly come sprinting out of the blocks but once they got in gear, Skyline didn’t exactly have any answers. Host Pioneer turned a low-scoring 5-4 lead in the first quarter into a 20-8 margin at halftime on Thursday night in a matchup of city rivals.
But something happened on the way to the end of the game. The Eagles started to find their groove and the Pioneers started playing like the outcome had already been decided – a bad combination for the home team.
What once was a 30-12 Pioneer lead late in the third quarter became just 32-26 with just under 7 minutes left in the game. The Eagles had a few chances to cut the deficit to five points but missed a couple of inside shots. Freshman Felicia Stewart hit two free throws at the other end to give Pioneer a 37-38 lead with 3 minutes left in the game.
The Pioneers, playing with much more urgency in the final few minutes, finally put the Eagles away with a 45-33 victory.
Pioneer was led in scoring by Stewart and Asaria Turman who each scored 12. Whitney Gallagher scored nine in the win. The Pioneers improved to 7-10 on the season and face Bedford on Monday
Skyline was led by Lauren Courtright with 11 points. Janee Faulkner had nine points and Renee Faulkner scored six.
Stewart hit back-to-back three pointers in the early stages of the second quarter to push Pioneer’s lead to 11-4. A jump shot by Corine Burgard gave the hosts a 17-8 lead and two free throws from Stewart made it 20-8 at the intermission.
The Pioneers came out rolling to start the third quarter. A put-back by Turman, a layup by Ilena Garrett and a steal and layup by Stewart gave the hosts a 30-12 lead. But the Eagles began to chip away and a triple by Courtright made it 32-19 and Skyline trailed 32-21 after three.
Skyline’s Arielle Melong nailed a triple to open the fourth and suddenly Pioneer’s lead was down to single digits at 32-24. Courtright then went coast to coast to cut the lead to 32-26 with 6:55 left to play.