Pineville Middle’s eighth grade girls basketball team found itself in a rare position at halftime of Wednesday’s Class A county championship game: trailing.
The Lady Minutemen corrected that at the start of the third quarter. They went on a 10-2 run and beat Mullens, 40-28, at Mullens Middle School.
It was the 67th straight win for the eighth graders on the team and fifth straight county championship.
“We changed up the offense a little bit at halftime,” said Pineville coach Ron Mayhew.
Jazz Blankenship, whose 12 points paced the Rebelettes to a 19-18 halftime edge, was held scoreless in the second half.
“We went man on her,” Mayhew commented.
Guard Gabby Lupardus knocked down a three from the left side and another from the right as the Minutemen grabbed control early in the third, 28-21.
Mullens got within 30-26 early in the fourth. But Lupardus answered with two more treys to stretch the margin to 38-26.
“I can’t say enough about Gabby’s leadership in the second half ,” Mayhew remarked. “She controlled the ball and was patient to get good looks (at the basket).”
Mullens held the lead several times in the first half, which featured six lead changes and five ties.
“Mullens played great, they were aggressive,” Mayhew said.
“All the pressure was on,” he noted. “They could play free.”
Lupardus had 20 for PIneville, and Allie Lusk scored six.
Blankenship (12) and Kyndal Johnson (6) sparked Mullens.
“Everybody played well,” Mayhew said of his club.
Game notes: Pineville’s closest game of the year was a one-point win at Bluefield … The Lady Minutemen last lost five years ago at Mullens.