Dawg domination

Published 10:47 pm Friday, December 13, 2013

Pike County rolls past rival Goshen

The Pike County Bulldogs used a suffocating press defense to smother their cross-county rival Goshen Eagles 45-22 Friday night in Brundidge.

Goshen led 9-8 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs ramped up the intensity on offense and defense during the final three stanzas to put the Eagles in the rearview mirror.

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Pike County head coach Doug Holland said his team is finally starting to understand the philosophy of the style of play he wants to utilize.

“We want our defense to set up our offense,” Holland said. “We to create quick shots, because of the region we play in with Barbour County, Abbeville and Catholic, you have to be able to take and make quick shots in transition.”

Goshen’s trouble began on the first possession of the second quarter, as the Bulldogs picked up their first of six steals of the period. Larry Sellers laid the ball in to convert the turnover in to points and give Pike County an 10-9 lead.

The Bulldogs wound never trail the rest of the way.

Holland said the team has been working on the press defense since the beginning of the season, but is just now starting to understand the flow of it.

“We are just now getting the rotation of the press,” Holland said. “Our legs stay under us better now because of the strength and conditioning we do with all of our athletes. Rotation is the key part on the press. If you don’t get to where you need to be, then teams can find lanes and holes on the backside. We did a good job of not letting them find the seams.”

The press defense didn’t allow Goshen to score a single point in the second quarter, and provided a spark for the Bulldog offense.

In the second and third quarters, Pike County went on a 27-6 run that proved to be the difference in the game.

Pike County senior guard Ryshaun Hall led the Bulldogs on offense with 11 points, but said the defense was the key to the win over their cross-county rivals.

“We know we have really good athletes down here,” Hall said. “We take pride in our defense, because we know offense will come from sound defense. Coach Holland wants us to press and be aggressive, so that’s what we did. We all like to play fast and use our quickness on D.”

The loudest play of the night came midway through the third quarter. After the press of Pike County forced yet another Goshen turnover, an outlet pass to Deshon Cowling set up a fast break.

Cowling leapt from one step inside the free throw line and slammed home a rim-rattling dunk that brought the entire crowd, both Goshen and Pike County fans, to their feet.

The basket was Cowling’s only points of the night, but he made them count.

Goshen will take on the Ariton Purple Cats on Dec. 17. First tip is set for 4:30 p.m.

Pike County will take a few days before returning to action in the Goshen Holiday Tournament next week.