Holland looking for ‘more intensity’ in second half of season

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Pike County Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing showing in the Geneva County Christmas Tournament, but head coach Doug Holland thinks his team is poised to rebound as the Bulldogs head in to area play.

In three games at the Geneva County Christmas Tournament, Pike County was only able to come away with one win.

The Bulldogs’ woes from the free throw line plagued Pike County in its losses to Slocomb (44-43) and Geneva (56-53).

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“We lost to Slocomb at the buzzer,” Holland said. “We were up by one with 4.2 seconds left, and they made a last-second shot. In that game we went 4-14 from the free throw line. We were tied with Geneva at 50 with two minutes left in the game. We wound up losing by three. It was our worst game from the line all season. We finished 2-16 on free throws.”

Over the break, Holland said his team has worked on fixing its troubles from the charity stripe.

“We’ve basically just been working on trying to get back in our trap rotation,” Holland said. “We want to get our legs back. And of course, we’ve been shooting a whole lot of free throws.”

The Bulldogs open region play on Tuesday when they travel to take on the Montgomery Catholic Knights. Following the game against Catholic, the Bulldogs travel to area rivals Barbour County on Friday and Abbeville on Jan. 14.

The Bulldogs have one final tune-up game today against the Mobile Christian Leopards.

Holland said his team is looking forward to the game. “We’re looking forward to playing Mobile Christian,” Holland said. “From what we can tell they are a very good, sound team. The kids are looking forward to playing a game at 3 p.m.”

The game will provide the Bulldogs the opportunity to see how they stack up with teams outside the Wiregrass. “We’re looking forward to playing a team that is outside of our normal area,” Holland said. “It’s always fun to see how you stack up against another part of the state. Mobile has a long history of producing good basketball programs. We get to test ourselves against that.”

Holland said having the first three area games of the season on the road has not fazed his team.

“Opening with three road games is why we were so adamant about getting in to the Geneva tournament,” Holland said. “We wanted to get the team used to playing away from home. We knew the games were going to be tightly officiated, and we wanted to learn to play on the road. We haven’t had many home games so far this year, and that’s because we knew we opened area play on the road.”

All the road games should help the Bulldogs as they head in to the area schedule.

“We like to call our region a ‘real intense’ region,” Holland said. “When you go on the road to Catholic, Abbeville and Barbour County, you can’t expect to win. Our intensity level has to match their atmosphere. We get to close out the season at home, but we want to get off to a good start these first three games.”

For Holland, the best-case scenario for the Dawgs’ brutal three game stretch would be three wins in three tries.

“As the coach, I want to get three wins,” Holland said. “That puts a lot of pressure on them to beat us in our place. We’re going to try to get at least two out of three. Any time we can get a win on the road, that’s a big win. I know the boys’ focus will be there.”