DHS reaps bitter revenge
Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 13, 2000
on Lady Bulldogs in Area 3
By STEVEN G. WATSON
GENEVA ­ It would have been hard to find a more exciting first round matchup in Area Tournament play than the Lady Bulldogs’ battle with Daleville.
After defeating the Lady Warhawks in story-book fashion in two regular-season meetings, the Lady Bulldogs felt the sting of revenge in a 58-50 loss that ended their season one game short of the playoffs.
In a year that was highlighted by a perfect 11-0 start, before dropping their first game to eventual Area champion Geneva, the PCHS girls finished with a 16-4 record. The tragedy of a team with as much talent as the Lady Bulldogs not making the playoffs was felt by both coaches at the end of the night.
"It is a shame that Pike County isn’t going to be able to make it to the playoffs, but they had a great year," Daleville head coach Scott Horne said. "Probably in the state this is the strongest Area with these three teams by far. You could possibly have had three ranked teams in one Area."
"It’s a shame this has to happen, but it had to be somebody and we happened to be the one," PCHS head coach Leroy Bryant said. "They wanted it, but I felt my girls wanted it too. I think we’ve got a really great ball club. A great bunch of young ladies and it’s horrible that it ends with tonight’s ball game.
"I feel sorry for the seniors," he continued. "The rest of them have a chance to come back, but our four seniors don’t. That’s what hurts me so bad."
It all came down to game plans and the Lady Warhawks came in frothing at the mouth with not only emotion on their side, but a fantastic plan to deal with a tough Lady Bulldog club.
The taller Daleville girls won the game on the boards and on the fast break. While Pike County struggled all night grabbing hardly any offensive rebounds, the Lady Warhawks boxed out and sent their guards streaking down court waiting for a touchdown pass from their post players.
"We had a plan and we’ve been working on it for about three weeks," Horne explained. "Their guards shoot a lot, so if they shoot we knew they were going to have trouble getting back on defense. We knew we were a little bit taller than them inside so what we were trying to do was release our guards to streak down court giving them open shots. We worked hard and it just paid off tonight."
It paid off in layup after layup after layup. With virtually no outside shooting throughout the night Daleville quickly erased an early 5-0 lead by PCHS holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless the rest of the first period and running ahead 12-5.
The Lady bulldogs battled back to only a 21-20 disadvantage at halftime, but it was the third quarter that sealed the Pike County girls’ doom. A 12-2 run to start the third gave the Lady Warhawks their biggest lead of the game, but the gas wasn’t out of the Lady Bulldogs’ tank just yet.
As the fourth quarter began with a 40-29 deficit to overcome, Pike County fell just short of the task. The Lady Bulldogs valiantly fought back scoring 21 points much in part to the combination play of guards Bridget Barrow and Wennica Foster.
They slashed through the Lady Warhawk defense either drawing the foul or scoring on layups themselves then played pressure defense that slowed down the Daleville attack.
Pike County seemed poised to make it three in a row over DHS as they cut the lead to only two at 52-50 with 1:18 left on a layup by Andrea Bailey, but the Lady Warhawks continued their layup barrage with three fast break baskets in the final minute, holding PCHS scoreless.
"It all really came down to rebounding," Bryant said. "Everybody we played this year had more height than us so they got two or three shots at the basket and we would only get one. They’ve got a great ball club there’s no doubt about it, but I feel like I didn’t do a good enough job coaching tonight. I thought I had them ready and doing the best I could, but it just wasn’t good enough tonight."
"It’s not really revenge, but it is sweet to come back and beat someone in a big game like this when they’ve beat you two times during the regular season," Horne said. "I just felt like our girls went out and did what they had to do. This has been and always will be a big rivalry. It doesn’t matter if their playing checkers it’s going to be a big game."
Barrow led the field with 16 points on the night hitting four 3-pointers while Foster had eight. Four Daleville players finished in double figures with Leandra Williams leading the way with 13, Kiki Brown and Ashley Horne with 12 and Demetria Rivers with 10.