Bulldogs gain confidence as they head into big weekend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2002

Sports Editor

Pike County boy’s head basketball coach Danny Suber took a break from a phone call on Wednesday to ask guard Michael Walker how many points he had scored the night before in a 51-43 win over Luverne.

Walker replied that he didn’t know.

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Suber laughed.

"That’s the way I like it," he said.

A proponent of team ball if there ever was one, Suber has had Pike County hot as of late. Winners of three of their last four, the Bulldogs are an even 4-4 heading into this weekend’s big games against Class 3A No. 1 Calhoun, Friday night, and county-rival Goshen on Saturday.

The Bulldogs opened the year with a bang, beating 2A No. 1 Barbour County in the first round of the BCHS Holiday Tournament in Clayton. At the time, the defending state champ Jags were holders of a 17 game win streak.

From there, PCHS fell to Charles Henderson in the tournament championship game and then Suber dropped his young basketball team into shark infested waters at the Hattiesburg Christmas Tournament the following week.

Hattiesburg High School, Pike County’s first round opponent, was 16-1 at the time. The Bulldogs had played just two games.

Predictably, Suber’s squad came home without a win.

"We knew going over there that we were going to face some bigger schools. We went over there with our intentions focused on getting better," he said. "We’re not the same ball team now. I tell the guys that I like to refer to that tournament as our experiment. We’re 4-4 against teams from Alabama and I think we could be very easily 8-0."

Back home, Pike County dropped an overtime decision to area opponent Elba and then Barbour County handed the Bulldogs a second straight loss at home, 56-46.

"We didn’t do anything right in those two games," said Suber. "We had 27 turnovers against Elba and we couldn’t hit free throws in either game. You’re not going to beat anybody playing like that."

Pike County bounced back to take consecutive victories over Geneva County and Bullock County, before falling to area foe Calhoun last Saturday night on the road.

PCHS cut the Tigers’ lead to just three at one point in the second half, but lost 60-54.

"It was a great game and it was a hard one to lose," said Suber. "But that’s a tough place to win at."

Overall, Suber is pleased with how far his team has come in the past two weeks.

"I think we’re doing better then some people expected and our schedule is vicious," said Suber. "But I’m kind of crazy in that I honestly believe that we can play with and beat anyone on our schedule. We’re still young, but I told them that they have to stop thinking of themselves as juniors and sophomores and start thinking like basketball players."

But one senior Suber still relies on is Walker.

"We’re a different team with Michael on the floor," he said. "The other players feed off the edge he brings to the team and really look up to him. He gives us good leadership."

Pike County is currently 1-2 in area play, but a win against Calhoun could provide some mid-season momentum for the Bulldogs. PCHS still has area games remaining against Luverne, at home, and Elba, on the road.