Pike County falls in double overtime

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ENTERPRISE – Before Pike County’s contest against Tallassee Tuesday, head coach Doug Branson was a little worried about his team being fatigued. His worry had credibility. The Bulldogs were about to play their sixth game in seven days.

If Branson’s team was tired, they didn’t show it as they battled 5A Tallassee to a double overtime thriller. Although Pike County came up short, 53-50, Branson feels his team is making strides.

“These guys are putting in the effort,” Branson said. “They are putting in the effort and competing.”

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Competing was something the coach felt his team didn’t do in Monday’s loss to Red Level.

“I told the guys there is a difference in getting beat and losing,” he said. “Monday we lost. We helped the other team win. Today we got beat. I thought we played hard but just didn’t make the plays needed to win.”

Tallassee came out firing early. Donald Speake blasted Pike County for 16 of the Tigers first 18 points. With 5:23 remaining in the second quarter Branson substituted five fresh Bulldogs and switched to a 3-2 zone in order to shut down Speake outside shooting. The move worked, the junior would make the first basket of the third quarter and not score again in the game.

Pike County’s defense bent but did not break as the Tigers were only able to build a nine point lead with their early hot shooting.

Starting the fourth quarter, Pike County trailed 30-27 but Branson’s worry about fatigue was quickly quelled. The Bulldogs easily penetrated the low post but missed two close range jump shots. Ryshaun Hall came down with the second miss and banked in the third try to bring Pike County to within one, 30-29.

Deandre Moore immediately forced a Tallassee turnover resulting in an uncontested lay-up, giving Pike County their first lead of the game, 31-30.

The Tigers responded with a three but again the Bulldogs refused to lie down. Baskets from Hall and Moore gave Pike County a 35-33 advantage midway through the final quarter.

The Tigers, on the back off solid free throw shooting, pulled ahead by four with just forty-seconds left to play.

Moore, who finished with seven points, again intercepted a Tiger pass but was fouled on the shot attempt. After making both free throws, Pike County quickly fouled Tallassee forcing them to the line.

The Tigers missed the first attempt and Pike County pulled down the rebound. Marlon Meadows received the pass just inside the three-point line in front of the Bulldogs bench. Meadows nailed the jump shot with seven seconds remaining to tie the game at 39-39. Tallassee’s final shot attempt missed sending the game to overtime.

Meadows wasn’t finished, however. Down 46-43, Meadows pulled up near the exact spot he hit his previous shot. He released the ball just as time expired and a standing Pike County bench exploded as the ball sank through the net.

“Those were big shot by Marlon,” Branson said. “His ability to shoot those shots came from the other four guys doing their job too.”

Meadows finished with 11 points for the Bulldogs.

The second overtime wasn’t as exciting for the Bulldogs. Pike County fell behind 52-46 before Quadry Gresham, who led all Pike County scorers with 15, hit a short jump shot. Meadows sank two free throws to bring the Bulldogs to within two. After the Tigers made one of two free throw attempts, it was time for Meadows magic show once again. This time his shot came up short at the final horn.

“Our guys stayed evolved as a team,” Branson said. “We’ll keep getting better and getting ready for area play.”

Pike County will finally get some rest. The Bulldogs will have five days off before traveling to Goshen Nov. 28.