Bulldogs ready for next step

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Pike County Bulldogs may be starting later than everyone else this basketball season, but they are using that time to prepare.

Last season the Bulldogs advanced to the Elite 8 in the Class 3A state playoffs. Head coach Doug Holland believes his team could take that all-important next step this year.

“We are returning three starters,” Holland said. “Those guys played key, important roles for us last year. We are part of a good area. We are going to just try and take it one game at a time. With our key performers returning, I still want us to play hard and be competitive.”

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The Bulldogs are taking the extra time to get their players into more basketball shape. Most of the players on the Bulldogs roster also played on the football team where their season ended just a few weeks ago.

Holland hopes the transition between football and basketball will be a seamless one.

“When they transition from one sport to another, being seniors it doesn’t take them very long,” Holland said. “It’s been somewhat of a smooth transition compared to last year, but I still think we are in football shape. We are still rough; we shoot the ball really hard at times. I still think we are transitioning from basketball to football.”

It’s no secret that Pike County hopes to be able to run the basketball up and down the court while at the same time putting pressure on the opposing offense, so being in basketball shape is a must.

“The number one thing we are going to try and do is push the ball,” Holland said. “We are going to try and turn you over. Everything starts with our trap. We like to push tempo and try to turn you over.”

The pride of the Bulldogs heading into the season will be defense. Holland believes his defense will be able create many opportunities for his offense and turnovers will lead to more points for the Bulldogs.

“I think that was the one thing that helped us get to the Elite 8 last year for the first time in school history,” Holland said. “We bought into the concept that we can be average on offense, but we want to be good on defense. That is definitely our number one.”

With the Bulldogs coming so close to knocking on the door for a chance to play in the state championship a year ago, the seniors are hungry to lead this team.

“It looks good when you have your same guys coming back,” Holland said. “It’s always a different team when a new year starts … with the success we had last year we hope it will breath a little more confidence into the players who were role-players last year.”

To get back to where they want to be they are going to have to navigate through a tough area that consist of Barbour County, Abbeville and Dale County. The Bulldogs will have to play catch up on those teams who already have three or four games under their belt.

“We are not going to sneak up on anybody this year,” Holland said. “We are going to get everybody’s best. Barbour County is always going to be good with coach White. The one thing I want us to concentrate on is us taking care of Pike County and that’s it.”

Pike County will begin their season on Dec. 8 when they travel to Union Springs to take on Bullock County.