Practice pays off for Bulldogs
by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star
Jan 30, 2014 | 443 views |  0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Piedmont boys had a full week of practice time following their overtime loss to No. 3 seed Alexandria in the opening round of the Calhoun County basketball tournament. That practice time showed results Monday night when the Bulldogs defeated visiting Ashville 79-54.

“I think we moved a little better on offense, which had been the emphasis of this past week’s practices, so hopefully they can build on the things that went well,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said Tuesday.

Against Ashville, Piedmont netted five 3-point baskets in the first quarter, two each by Ty Sparks and Dreek Thompson and one from Caleb Adams. The home Bulldogs led 24-18 after one quarter then outscored the taller Ashville team 19-11 in the second quarter, 15-9 in the third and 21-16 in the fourth.

Adams was fouled on a 3-point attempt midway through the first quarter, sank all three free throws for an 11-9 lead and Piedmont never trailed thereafter. Darnell Jackson paced Piedmont with 14 points including two triples. Adams ended with two treys, 11 points and four assists. Thompson, Sparks and Denard Spears each scored 10 points. Thompson added a team-best seven rebounds. Sparks had three assists and three rebounds. Spears added three boards, two blocks, two assists and two steals. Tyler Lusk had six boards, two assists and three points.

Taylor Hayes and Bayley Blanchard each scored six points. Blanchard was 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Jamal Young and Easton Kirk had three points apiece. Kirk’s came on the last of Piedmont’s nine 3-pointers in the game. Neonta Alexander finished with two points and Austin Brazier scored one point.

Ashville had beaten Piedmont 53-45 two weeks earlier in Ashville but Piedmont was clearly the superior team in the rematch.

“They did play well,” Lewis said of his team’s performance Monday. “We threw some zone in with the man against certain matchups and that helped us with the rebounding since they had quite a size advantage at most every position.”

The week of practices and the adjustments made in those practices seemed to benefit Jackson’s production.

“Darnell is someone that we have been waiting on to be a weapon but he has struggled with me moving him around,” Lewis said. “I think with some of the new offensive sets he can help inside and outside. (Monday) night he did that, he had paint points and threes, so maybe he is ready to carry us to the next offensive level.”

The snow and ice that reached Calhoun County during the day Tuesday forced Tuesday night’s home game against Cherokee County to be rescheduled for Saturday with the boys ‘B’ team to start at 5 p.m. The usual three games – ‘B’ team, varsity girls and varsity boys – will be played Saturday.

Friday’s home game with Ohatchee has been canceled. Ohatchee must reschedule an area game with Woodland. The Bulldogs will play at Jacksonville Monday, if Thursday’s home game with Jacksonville materialized. Piedmont concludes its regular season games at home Tuesday against Pisgah.

“Our schedule is tough the rest of the way out, some by design and some because our usual deep football playoff run causes games to be moved and they just land like they have this year,” Lewis said. “I just hope that the games do not cause us to lose confidence heading into the area playoffs. Big wins can help but hard loses can hurt. We have played well. We just have not had the wins to show for it. Maybe we will pick up some steam at the end.”
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Practice pays off for Bulldogs by Rip Donovan
Special to The Star

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