Smiley’s big night lifts Pike County past New Brockton

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 20, 2013

Stevie Smiley has had nights with more points and games with more rebounds, but his performance Friday night against New Brockton put an ear-to-ear grin on his head coach’s face.

Smiley, a low-post force for the Pike County Bulldogs, notched 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead his squad to a big 55-32 win over the New Brockton Gamecocks.

Pike County head coach Doug Holland was happy with the way his big man played, despite him having to sit out much of the second quarter.

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“We have really been working with him on staying out of foul trouble,” Holland said. “He has been a force all year, and he knows how to use his body and size to his advantage. He picked up two fouls early, and we had to sit him awhile. He had a good second half, and is really beginning to make big difference for us down low.”

New Brockton led only once in the entire game, for a brief moment in the second quarter. The Bulldogs pulled away in the second half of the quarter to take a nine-point lead in to the locker room.

The fast-paced, press-happy Bulldogs gobbled up loose balls and points early and often in the third quarter to stretch their lead to 21 at the end of the stanza.

In the middle of the third quarter, Pike County went on a 19-5 run to bust the game up and leave the gassed Gamecocks in the rearview mirror.

Holland wanted his players to keep the tempo rolling in the second half.

“I told them in the locker room to stay focused on our game,” Holland said. “We like to go fast, but sometimes they have the tendency to play too fast. I reminded them to be patient at times, and take advantage of situations. We can’t press all the time, so we have to pick the best times to do it. They are getting better at those decisions, but we still have work to do.”

Outside of Smiley’s big night, Pike County picked up 11 points from Jerell Lawson.

During Pike County’s big third-quarter run, Lawson scored seven straight points for the Bulldogs.

Pike County will play in the consolation game of the Goshen Holiday Tournament at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

the Bulldogs will meet the Highland Home Flying Squadron, who came up short against the host team, Goshen, Friday night.

Holland said it always good to leave the gym with a win.

“Anytime you win, its a good night on the court,” Holland said. “Our guys are really coming together as a team, which is very important for us as the year goes on. When we get in to our area, we will have to be at the top of our game. This tournament is letting us see strengths and weaknesses. We are ready for tomorrow, and the rest of the year.”