Busy week for Bulldogs ends against Alexandria
by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star
Jan 14, 2014 | 459 views |  0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A stretch of seven games in nine days ends late Saturday night for the Piedmont boys when they face No. 3 seed Alexandria in the opening round of the Calhoun County basketball tournament at Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. and is the final game of the tournament’s first day.

This year’s county tournament is the first since 2002 to seed just four teams. All 15 teams were seeded for each of the past six tournaments.

Either eight or six were seeded the previous five years. The decision to seed just four for 2014 was apparently made by the county’s principals last spring.

Piedmont, certainly one of the best eight teams in the county, drew the pairing against No. 3 Alexandria out of a hat.

“I think that the 16 team bracket is a standard form that is designed to reward those teams who have played well,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said. “To pick the top four as a reward then open it up to pure luck as to who they play is not really a reward. To go to the trouble of disrupting a Sunday during the coaches busiest period to just vote for four teams is just a waste of time. Speaking of time, the process we went through took as long as seeding the whole tournament - plus the added time of the gambling aspect of drawing your fate out of a bag. I saw no positive to the change unless you want the element of chance added to the process. The educational system we are governed by is based on merit, not random chance.”

For Piedmont, the seven-game run began on Friday at home with a 72-71 loss to Class 3A, Area 10 leader Weaver. The Bulldogs trailed 44-28 at halftime then had the final possession but were unable to get a shot away in the last five seconds. Typically, Lewis took the blame for the loss.

“I probably stopped us from winning Friday,” he said. “I used the press too long and did not have a great play to end the game.”

A baseline drive by Taylor Hayes forced a 65-65 tie with 4:31 to play. Darnell Jackson’s put-back made it 67-67with just over three minutes to go but the Bulldogs never got a lead in the second half.

Denard Spears recorded 25 points, three assists, three steals and four rebounds. Caleb Adams had four 3-point baskets and finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Dreek Thompson had 11 points and six boards. Hayes ended with eight points. Jackson scored six points and grabbed six rebounds. Ty Sparks had five points and four assists. Tyler Lusk blocked two shots, made two steals and added two rebounds.

“I think the game helped them recognize their potential,” Lewis said. “We just do not seem to be able to tie a couple of good games into a long enough string to gain confidence.”

Ohatchee canceled its home game against Piedmont, scheduled for Saturday, to play an area game that had to be rescheduled. At the last minute, Piedmont secured a game at Skyline Saturday and won 56-46. Leading 27-25 at halftime, the Bulldogs outscored the Vikings 29-4 in the third quarter to put the game away.

Spears scored 10 points in the third and 21 for the game, including three treys. He also had five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Thompson also canned three treys. Eight of his 15 points came in the third. Thompson added six boards, four steals and two assists. Sparks ended with four points, five rebounds and four assists. Adams and Jackson each netted one 3-point basket. Jackson had five rebounds and two assists and Adams made two steals. Hayes, Neonta Alexander, Bayley Blanchard, Austin Brazier and Jamal Young had two points each. Brazier pulled down three rebounds.

At Ashville Monday, Piedmont lost 53-45. The Bulldogs had four 3-pointers in the first quarter, building an 18-12 lead, but did not connect from outside the arc again the rest of the night. Adams, Jackson, Sparks and Thompson each had one trey. Spears ended with 15 points. Sparks scored nine, Adams eight, Jackson six, Thompson five and Hayes two.

The Bulldogs were to host Wellborn Tuesday night. Area 10 opponents Saks and White Plains come to Piedmont Thursday and Friday.
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Busy week for Bulldogs ends against Alexandria by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star

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