Pike County rolls past Dale County, will face Abbeville Saturday in Area 4 championship

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Pike County boy’s basketball team battled through early nerves and a rough start offensively before cruising past Dale County 69-46 Thursday night in the first round of the Class 3A Area 4 tournament.

With the win, the Bulldogs will move on to face Abbeville Saturday night at Pike County High School for the area championship.

“This is what I expected,” Pike County head coach Doug Holland said. “We’re at home and we won the area in the regular season and I expected us to be in the championship game.”

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Kamari Jackson led Pike County with a game-high 17 points.

Early in the game, Dale County took advantage of cold shooting from Pike County from the field, jumping out to a 4-2 lead.

At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors were up 9-6 on the Bulldogs.

But in the second quarter, Pike County heated up, taking its first lead of the game at 5:16 of the second quarter after a Deshon Cowling 3-pointer that put the Bulldogs up 13-11.

“I told them (the team) just to settle down,” Holland said. “We haven’t hosted an area game in a while, so I kind of figured emotions would be up. When they came in they said ‘Coach, we’re a little amped up.’”

Dale County responded, tying the game at 15, but Pike County closed out the first half on a 7-2 run, highlighted by a buzzer-beater from behind the arc by Jackson.

The second half saw even more offense from Pike County as the Bulldogs orchestrated a 10-2 run midway through the third to open up a 34-23 lead over Dale County.

The Warriors responded with baskets of their own, but Pike County’s full-court press forced Dale County into several turnovers that the Bulldogs turned around for points on the other end as they led by as many as 22 points in the second half.

Pike County will play Abbeville Saturday, a team they know well and have beaten twice in the regular season.

But regular season success is no guarantee of a win in the postseason, said Holland.

“We’re looking forward to a good game against Abbeville,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. We beat them twice this year, but it’s always hard to beat a team a third time. Like I said, all the credit goes to these kids.”