WALKER -- Pineville saved its best shooting for the last quarter to take a 52-48 victory over Walker in the first round of the Class 5A girls basketball playoffs on Thursday.

The Rebels (17-13) hit 6-of-10 shots from the field and were a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 8 minutes.

Walker, which finished the season 17-18, led 41-39 on Raven Barze’s 3-pointer with 3:06 left in the game.

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Walker guard Breanna Zeringue looks for a shot against Pineville on Thursday.

But Krystal Freeman, who led Pineville with 21 points and 9 rebounds, completed a three-point play and added two of the Rebels’ next three baskets to build a 48-43 lead.

“We finally took the lead and turned it over on two straight possessions,” Walker coach Korey Arnold said. “We had control of the game but we had to take care of the ball.

“We’re a young team. Most years when the season ends I’m upset, but I’m not. I’m excited. I like what we have coming back. We lose one senior. We have some freshmen who will be ready for next year.

“We never stopped playing. That’s one of our characteristics. We may be outsized and outmatched but let’s play hard.”

The Wildcats cut the deficit to 50-48 on Breanna Zeringue’s 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left, but Walker was forced to foul and Indya Smith sank two free throws.

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Walker's Raven Barze eyes the Pineville defense Thursday night in a Class 5A playoff game.

Walker was led by Krystal Hutchinson, who scored 21 points, including 5-of-6 free throws, and Zeringue with 20 points.

Daria Roy of Pineville was the only other player in double figures, hitting 4-of-8 3-point baskets for 12 points.

Roy played a key role in the second quarter as Pineville trailed 6-3. She sank three of her 3s and Freeman had eight points to build a 22-18 halftime lead.

Hutchinson scored nine of Walker’s 11 points in the third quarter, but Pineville managed to stay ahead.

PINEVILLE 52, WALKER 48

Pineville                3   19   12   18   --   52

Walker                   6   12   11   19   --   48

Pineville (52) -- Diamond Johnson 0 0-0 0, Bri Aquilano 0 0-0 0, Jala Byrd 1 0-0 2, Indya Smith 1 4-4 7, Keiara Coleman 2 0-0 4, Krystal Freeman 8 5-6 21, Deja Franklin 3 0-2 6, Daria Roy 4 0-0 12. Totals 19 9-12 52.

Walker (48) -- Krystal Hutchinson 7 5-6 21, Raven Barze 1 0-0 3, Candace Ellis 0 2-2 2, Breanna Zeringue 7 4-4 20, Victoria Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 10-11 48.

3-point goals -- Pineville 5 (Roy 4, Smith 1). Walker 5 (Hutchinson 2, Zeringue 2, Barze 1). Records: Pineville 17-13, Walker 17-18.

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