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Pressure cooker

The Class 3A No. 10 Pike County Bulldogs hung with the top ranked team in Class 2A, the Barbour County Jaguars, but an impenetrable half court pressure zone stalled PCHS en route to a 53-34 loss Saturday in Brundidge.

“I think our guys played extremely well, but Barbour County did a great job of shutting us down in the second half,” PCHS head coach Doug Holland said.

After trailing 22-21 at halftime, the Bulldogs (14-6) only scored 13 points in the second half to Barbour County’s (22-2) 31 points.

“We came out and matched their intensity in the first half, but they just wore us down in the second half,” Holland said. “That zone they were running was impossible to break. But I was proud of our guys for not giving up and fighting until the end.”

It did not help the Bulldogs that Tevin Andrews and Kendrick Jackson were in foul trouble early in the game.

Barbour County jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Jackson’s put-back slam tied the score at 4-4 and Josh Parker’s three-pointer gave PCHS its first lead with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.

After Barbour County grabbed the lead back, the Bulldogs stormed ahead with an 8-1 run to end the first quarter and claim a 15-11 lead.

PCHS stretched the lead to as much as 17-11, but BCHS made a run late in the quarter to grab a 22-21 lead entering halftime. The Jaguars never looked back, pressuring the Bulldogs into many mistakes in the second half. Barbour County outscored Pike 31-13 in the second half for the win.

Jackson led the Bulldogs with 12 points and six rebounds. Andrews only had two points, but added four rebounds and three assists. Quay Bailey had seven points, eight rebounds and four assists. Josh Parker had six points and Deandre Mathis grabbed 10 rebounds.

On Friday, the Bulldogs clinched a share of the Class 3A, Area 4 championship with Abbeville with a 55-41 win over Dale County on the road.

The title is the first title since the 1998 season, according to Holland. The Bulldogs lost the coin flip and will head to Abbeville for the area tournament.

In the Dale County game Holland said the game was tight for the first half, as PCHS led 25-21 at the break.

Bailey and Andrews paced the Bulldogs through the dominant second half. Bailey had 17 points with 10 rebounds and Andrews chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

“We are extremely proud of the area championship,” Holland said. “They have worked hard all year for this and I am very proud they got it.”

The Bulldogs host Carroll Tuesday and Luverne Thursday to close out the regular season. The Luverne game will be Senior Night in Brundidge.