Senior forward Devin Enix scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and sophomore point guard Erica Gambrell added 22 points as the Pineville Lady Mountain Lions rolled to a 69-39 win over Thomas Walker on Thursday. It was Pineville’s first game without coach Matt Shafer, who resigned earlier on Thursday to attend to a family matter.
Emily Mullins scored seven of her nine points in the first quarter and Enix added eight as the Lady Lions jumped out to a 21-10 lead after one period.
The second quarter saw Pineville attempt a few too many three-pointers that weren’t falling and the Lady Pioneers got back into the game behind seven points off the bench from Jade Welch. Gambrell scored five of her points late in the second period and by halftime the Lady Lions were back up by eleven at 32-21.
Assistant coach Justin Evans handled most of the game management duties on Thursday and he got Pineville back to their pressing ways in the second half as they pulled away to win by 30.
“Early on we put some pressure on them and got some turnovers that led to easy baskets. We went back to that as soon as we got out of halftime,” Evans said. “The press worked great, the girls were hustling around — going forward that’s the way we want to play.”
Enix scored eight points and Gambrell six in the third quarter as Pineville outscored the Lady Pioneers 18-9 to put the game out of reach. The lead was 50-30 going into the fourth quarter.
“Those two hustle and play hard, they are just outstanding players,” Evans added.
Chris Murphy, who unlike Evans is a full-time staff member at PHS, is acting as the Lady Lions’ head coach until a permanent interim is named next week. Murphy was an assistant to Shafer the last two seasons.
“I haven’t been with the team this season at all so I just let (Evans) take it and he did a very good job. It worked out very well for us,” Murphy said. “They came out fired up and pretty much took it to them. Erica is the motor that runs our team and she got going early.”
Gambrell hit a 3-pointer and turned consecutive steals into layups early in the fourth quarter. An Enix putback made it 60-32 with 5:48 remaining. Pineville took their biggest lead of the night after a basket by eighth-grade forward Makenzie Fuson and two free throws from eighth-grade guard Sarah Combs made it 65-34 with 2:52 to play and they went on to the 30-point win.
“We struggled shooting the ball from the outside a little bit, but then we started attacking the basket and got some open looks,” Murphy said. “We were knocking them down and got to the foul line and took it from there. It turned out to be a good night for us.”
Junior guard Emily Mullins had a full stat line with nine points, six assists, six steals and five rebounds for Pineville and eight-grade forward Jillian Enix added six points off the bench.
Welch led Thomas Walker with 13 points while April Kolb added nine and Kaitlyn Fuson six.
Pineville (2-0) was scheduled to play at Pulaski County on Friday and will visit Harlan County on Tuesday for the first game of a girls-boys double-header.
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THOMAS WALKER (39) — Jade Welch 13, Abbey Kolb 9, Kaitlyn Fuson 6, Ginny Carter 3, Baylee Powers 3, Courtney Edds 2, Morgan White 2, Brooklyn Smith 1, Kali Marcum 0, Whitney Jones 0.
PINEVILLE (69) — Devin Enix 23, Erica Gambrell 22, Emily Mullins 9, Jillian Enix 6, Makenzie Fuson 4, Brooke Sanders 2, Sarah Combs 2, Autumn Short 1, Rachel Barnes 0, Tiffany Sutton 0, Sophia Knuckles 0, Speedy Brock 0, Makayla Keyes 0, Anna Howard 0.