PCHS looking for payback

Published 11:30 pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

With the season coming down to its final weeks and area records taking shape, the Pike County basketball team is looking for a chance to get some payback on an earlier season loss.
The Bulldogs fell to area foe Opp on Jan. 6 in a close 32-31 matchup on the road, but now have a chance to take back that win on Friday night when Opp comes into Brundidge.
A win would give Pike and Opp identical records in the area, as well as put them one step closer to area leader Luverne.
“Our guys have hung in and fought all year,” Pike head coach Doug Branson said. “We’re still working on playing well together and we’ve played a lot of big teams and took some lumps. But our guys are working to be competitive, Luverne may be well ahead in the area but the rest of us are kind of blanketed together. Those tough matches this season are going to pay off for us.”
The Bulldogs have had their fair share of area woes, including losing to Luverne twice, but still have a chance to finish high in the standings.
But before that can happen, they have to worry about defending their home turf against Opp.
“It was a real close game last time,” Branson said. “We missed a lot of our free throws and had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of. Opp is a solid team and we’ll have to work hard to beat them, get out there and make our free throws and do our jobs right.”
With the previous loss to Opp still playing to their area record and a win almost necessary to stay competitive, Branson and his steam is focused on bringing a stronger defense to the court and controlling the ever-important rebound battle.
Both of those he feels his team is capable of, but only if they can keep their heads in the game and focus on executing their assignments.
“When we’re focused and playing well we are a decent defensive team,” he said. “We have to keep our concentration and play hard though; we can’t lose our focus or give up any opportunity that presents itself.”
The Bulldogs have all the tools to bring home a win, including home field advantage, and Branson is prepared to show what his team is capable of and work to finish the season on a strong note.
Perhaps even more importantly, he is aware of the hard work of his players and the odds they’ve faced in the past few weeks, a fact that could pay off with a win Friday night.
“We’re excited to be in it after the difficulties we’ve had,” he said. “We’re pretty much deadlocked in the area and have a chance to finish strong. Our guys have worked hard and fought and hopefully it’s going to pay off.”

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