Bulldogs look for improvement, face tough schedule

Published 10:30 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Coming into the 2012-13 season, Pike County boys basketball head coach Doug Branson knew his team would face an uphill battle just by looking at the new area opponents the Bulldogs would face.

After realignment, Pike County was placed into Area 4 with perennial powers Montgomery Catholic, Barbour County and Abbeville. Barbour County took the Class 2A state title last season.

“Last year, we were the second best team in our area,” Branson said. “Now, there could be a team in the Top 10 in the state and finish third in our area.”

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The Bulldogs will again be a youth-filled team, but will have a year’s worth of experience under their belt.

“Last season, we had a split season to a certain extent,” Branson said. “We were so young that we didn’t move some of those guys up until late in the season. They basically played half a season. This year, they’ll play a full season, which will be better for them. That will give our team a little more continuity too. We’ll have all 13 guys together the whole season.”

Branson expects 10-12 players to contribute as the season progresses. Pike County has 24 players eligible to play varsity basketball with 11 of those being freshman.

Young or not, Branson feels his team has a better understanding of the system and is excited to compete for a playoff berth again this season.

“Defense is our word. It’s what we do every day in practice. There is a better familiarity with what we are trying to do now that we have done it for a year,” Branson said. “We’ve got more numbers in our program. We’re looking forward to keep building.”

The Bulldogs fell in their first game of the season to Carroll on Nov. 15.

On Monday the team took on Headland in the Carroll High School Thanksgiving Tournament. The Bulldogs walked away victorious, 53-42, moving them to 1-1 on the season.

Ryshawn Hall scored 15 points and Deshon Cowling added 11.

“We’re not an overly skilled offensive team,” Branson said. “We have to control the ball, play defense and execute.”