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Bulldogs claim area championship

The Pike County Bulldogs won a slow deliberate basketball game 25-21 in overtime to claim the Class 3A Area 4 championship on Saturday in Brundidge.

“Exciting game,” said head coach Doug Holland. “Coach Watson and Houston Academy have a good team. We knew he was going to slow the ball down. They came within just two free throws from winning. We were very lucky to come out of here with a win.”

Houston Academy went out of character and attempted to slow the ball down in the game. At times in the game, including down the stretch, the Raiders held on to the ball for close to 3:00 minutes of game action. The Bulldogs expected the Raiders to slow them down and they were prepared.

“We worked on that at practice,” Holland said. “Being patient on defense. We were hoping our trap would have worked better tonight, but they stayed patient on offense.”

Just 11 points were scored in the opening quarter. Jahzarian Lampley scored five points and the Bulldogs took a 7-4 lead into the second quarter.

Points were even harder to come by in the second quarter. Just eight points were scored. Kevon Harris scored four points for the Bulldogs and Pike County took an 11-8 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs held the Raiders to two third-quarter points and the Bulldogs took a 17-10 lead into the final quarter.

The Raiders for a brief moment attempted to score quicker to begin the fourth quarter due to the seven-point deficit. The Raiders dwindled down the Bulldogs lead to 1 point with 3:00 remaining in the quarter. The Raiders held the ball until the 30 second mark where they called a timeout.

Out of the timeout the Raiders held the ball and with just over a second remaining the Bulldogs fouled the Houston Academy shooter sending them to the line with a chance to win the game. The shooter missed the first free throw. After a Bulldog timeout the shooter made the second sending the game into overtime.

The Bulldogs held the Raiders scoreless in the extra period and after key free throws by Harris and Jaidyn Wilson they were able to claim the 4-point win.

Harris led the Bulldogs with 10 points, while Lampley finished with six.

Because of their performance in the tournament, Andres Burney, Harris, Lampley and Wilson were all named to the all-area team after the game.

The Bulldogs have now won three out of their last four area championships.

“It feels good,” Holland said. “It’s something to be proud of.”

The Bulldogs will host the sub-regionals on Tuesday. Game time and opponent are still to be determined.