Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2000
Class 4A Area 3
Bulldogs: (No. 2 seed) vs. Dale County Saturday at Daleville. Tipoff 5 p.m.
Lady Bulldogs: (No. 2 seed) vs. Daleville Today at Geneva. Tipoff 6 p.m.
By STEVEN G. WATSON
A lot of the talk this season has gone to the Lady Bulldogs of Pike County, but they will have a much tougher road to a Sub-Regional than the PCHS boys’ team will.
Three of the Class 4A Area 3 girls’ teams have a legitimate chance of winning the Area Championship and doing some serious damage on the state level. Geneva, Daleville and Pike County will duke it out, however, only to have two remaining after the final bell.
The Lady Bulldogs had a chance to seal up the No. 1 seed and almost an assured berth in the state playoffs back on Jan. 18 when they faced Geneva at home. A win would have left PCHS undefeated on the season and lock up the regular-season title. It didn’t happen that way.
Geneva didn’t give the Lady Bulldogs any help either as they defeated Daleville in their final Area game to finish with just one Area loss and the No. 1 seed. A loss in that game would have put the tourney in Brundidge and given PCHS a cream-puff opponent in Dale County.
As it stands the Lady Bulldogs will have to pull yet another victory over a Lady Warhawks team that will be craving some revenge for the treatment they received the last two times the teams met.
The Pike County girls defeated Daleville on the road in their first Area game of the year on a last second shot by center Andrea Bailey. They then scored an encore performance in an overtime win back in Brundidge.
That kind of thing doesn’t leave much need for motivation when you’re Daleville. They’ll be ready for blood.
Keys to Victory: PCHS head coach Leroy Bryant and his squad will have to play the game of their lives to beat a team like Daleville for a third time this year. There’s something about that third game that always haunts the team that won the first two.
The Lady Bulldogs must keep the ball in the hands of who got them here. Bridget Barrow and Wennica Foster are two of the best ball-handlers in this or any Area and how they fare will decide this game.
Don’t count out the play of Andrea Bailey either. She must hit her shots when they are given to her. She’ll be matching up against taller girls, but when Foster or Barrow dishes it, she has to complete the play.
Lastly, the Lady Bulldogs can’t get into a slow down style of game. Daleville is bigger and that’s exactly what they will want. Expect some high-pressure defense from Bryant’s club.
If there is such a thing as a low-pressure situation in Area play the Pike County Bulldogs are in it as they face Dale County in the first round.
While this young team has had their problems through the early part of the season they are probably peaking at just the right time. They’re playing their best ball of the season and the Bulldogs could out do many expectations in the upcoming tourney.
PCHS swept Dale County and Geneva during the regular season nabbing the No. 2 seed and if they can get past the Warriors for a third time they might have just what it takes to finally finish a full four quarters against regular season champion Daleville.
Keys to Victory: The one thing that the Bulldogs have to do and do well from here on out and that’s rebound. When they rebound they win, it’s just that simple. PCHS head coach David Buehler has been preaching it all year long.
The Bulldogs will also have to get a big game out of guard Tobias Johnson. He is one of the better ball handlers in the county and if he can limit the turnovers and distribute the ball to Shemondre Jackson, Sam Diggs and Jhirmal White on the inside they will have a great chance.
Sophomore wing man Michael Walker could be an X-factor in this game. Since joining the team just before the big Goshen upset in early January, the 10th grader has seen significant playing time and can be a monster on the boards.
Lastly don’t look past Dale County. Get past the Warriors and you’re in the playoffs, then you can think about upsetting Daleville. Lose, and you’re playing playstation until the season starts next year.