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Long time coming

The Pike County Bulldogs are going back to sub-regionals for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

With a 55-45 win over Dale County in the first round of the AHSAA Class 3A, Area 4 tournament, the Bulldogs (19-7) clinched a spot in the sub-regionals. Pike County battled back and forth with the Warriors in the first half, but never trailed in the second half of action Friday night in Abbeville.

“We knew coming in this would be a wire-to-wire type of game,” PCHS head coach Doug Holland said. “We had a good rotation off the bench and we had a good balance. And this was a big win for us and a big win for our program.”

Holland said balance off the bench has been a strong play for the Bulldogs all season.

“We got great play from our bench and they gave us great contributions when we needed them the most,” Holland said.

Pike County jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but Dale County went on a 7-2 run to close out the first quarter and the teams were tied heading into the second quarter.

The teams traded the lead in the second quarter, but Pike County used its man defense and fast-break points to build a 22-16 lead before the half.

“We had worked on a man defense in practice and we stayed in man all game because it was working well,” Holland said. “We were afraid of their outside threat and we did a much better job sustaining the man defense throughout the whole game tonight. And that is a credit to the hard work our guys put in to stay in shape.”

The Warriors never cut the Bulldog lead to slimmer than seven points in the second half and Pike County punched its ticket to the area championship game Monday.

Pike spread the scoring out evenly in the win Friday night. Tevin Andrews and Jarrod Wilson led the pack with 11 points apiece. Andrews added eight rebounds and seven assists and Wilson had two rebounds and three assists. Holland said Wilson did something else well Friday.

“Jarrod played well on defense and he did a good job of shutting down their best player,” Holland said.

Martellis Foster and Deandre Mathis each had 10 points and four rebounds. Quay Bailey chipped in nine points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Kendrick Jackson had four points and four rebounds.

The Bulldogs will face Abbeville Monday. The two teams have offered up almost identical lopsided victories on their home floors this year.

Holland said knowing the Bulldogs will play no matter what happens Monday is a great feeling.

“It feels good to know we are in the next round,” he said. “There was actually more pressure going into this game because you want to hold serve and get into the playoffs. And coach (Roddrice) Griffin told me before the game that Pike County has not been this deep in the playoffs in a while. I just hope we don’t get complacent because we won this first one.”

Holland said tomorrow’s game was one of the goals the team set out at the beginning of the year.

“We said at the beginning of the year that we wanted to get an area championship and we tied in the regular season,” he said. “We hope we can come out Monday and establish what we want to do and win an area title.”

Click here for a photo gallery of Friday’s action