Bulldogs ready for Jaguars in region championship
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016
At this point a year ago the Pike County Bulldogs were battling for a shot at the region championship. After coming up short last year, the Bulldogs hope to take a step forward today when they once again play for the Class 3A region championship against Hillcrest-Evergreen.
After defeating Slocomb in the regional semifinals, coach Doug Holland’s team is relaxed and at the same time excited.
“We have had a great couple of practices and the guys are really excited,” Holland said.
A year ago the Bulldogs entered the Dothan Civic Center with a sense of awe according to Holland. So far this year it has been business as usual for the Bulldogs in Dothan.
“This year they have been a lot more relaxed,” Holland said. “I think, after being in the championship last year, I don’t think as players and coaches we will be nervous this year.”
The effects of nerves in a game of this magnitude could be astronomical but Holland believes as long as his team plays like a team and stays focused in the moment there is no reason why his team could not prevail.
“It’s about us playing together as a team,” Holland said. “We need to do the things that got us here and not do too much.
The Bulldogs will have a core group of players that will try to set the tone early in seniors Deshon Cowling, Kamari Jackson and Jerrell Lawson. All season long these three players have made a difference in every part of the game.
“Ever since we started practice we have talked about focus and intensity,” Holland said. “With that group you don’t have to do a whole lot of coaching. They are great student athletes. They have done a great job all year at keeping the team focused. They take a lot of responsibility in getting to practice and keeping kids moving and motivated.”
Hillcrest-Evergreen will bring plenty of size and athletic ability to the court.
“They are going to be really talented,” Holland said. “We probably haven’t seen many teams that play their style. They like to shoot the perimeter jump shot. The one thing that impressed me the most is how quick and athletic they are.”
The old expression is fight fire with fire and the Bulldogs will utilize their speed in the trap game to try and get easy baskets.
“It’s going to be huge,” Holland said. “We try and generate points off our traps. We try to eliminate some of your offensive possessions, so it’s going to be huge.”
A key to the Bulldogs success may go beyond the performance of their big three seniors. Although they will rely heavily on them, it may be the play of guys like Jhumir Lampley that makes the difference for the Bulldogs.
“Jhumir played tremendous on Saturday by scoring 17 points,” Holland said. “Damon Andrews and Jahzarian Lampley and a few of those guys are going to have to help us off the bench.”
The Bulldogs and Jaguars are scheduled to tipoff today at 10:45 a.m. at the Dothan Civic Center.