“We really have not gotten to a point where we are looking for certain shots for our own players yet. Defensively, we emphasize some things we think might help us against an opponent, but we are far from setting up game plans to stop another team’s strengths yet,” Piedmont coach Tommy Lewis said of the early going. “We are just working on getting in shape, finding our shots and re-learning our defensive rules.”
Piedmont trailed Cherokee County 34-15 at halftime. Despite outscoring the Warriors 29-25 in the second half, the first half deficit was too much ground to make up. Senior Denard Spears was the only Piedmont player in double figures with 14 points.
The second quarter decided the Wellborn game as the Bulldogs scored 29 points and held the Panthers to nine, taking a 44-14 lead at intermission. Eight Piedmont players contributed to the 29 point total, led by Tyler Lusk who had six points on a pair of 3-point buckets. Bayley Blanchard had five points in the run, including one trey. Darnell Jackson and Ty Sparks each scored four second-quarter points.
Taylor Hayes led the Bulldogs in scoring for the night with 14 points. Sparks finished with 10 points. Jackson had eight points. Spears and Blanchard each tallied seven points. Lusk and Jamal Young finished with six points apiece. Caleb Adams and Dreek Thompson each connected on a 3-pointer. Neonta Alexander had two points. Exavyer Jackson and Austin Brazier each had one point.
A 17-3 first quarter advantage established Piedmont as the superior team in the Woodland game. Spears netted seven of his game-high 21 points in the first period. Darnell Jackson had four points in the first and six for the night. Hayes, Brazier and Easton Kirk each scored two points in the first quarter. Hayes ended with seven points, Brazier three and Kirk five.
By halftime, the Bulldogs led the Bobcats 32-10. Lusk had a pair of treys and was 2-for-2 at the free throw line for eight points. Blanchard had five points, Adams three, Jamal Young three and Alexander two. Sparks, the starter at point guard in Piedmont’s initial two games, did not play against Woodland after he injured a foot in a pick-up game.
Lewis said with Sparks unavailable, the immediate option was to return Spears to point guard after he worked at the shooting guard during summer practices.
“We played well at Woodland considering we found out about Ty on Sunday night and made the changes as a game time decision,” Lewis noted.
That so many players have been contributing points has also pleased their coach.
“We have played everyone and while a couple of players have had good games in most games everyone has scored so they are not afraid to go in and shoot,” Lewis said.
The first three games mark the halfway point in a run of six consecutive road games to start the season for the Bulldogs. Piedmont began area play at Weaver last night. Area games follow at White Plains Friday and at Saks Monday.
The Bulldogs host Hokes Bluff and 7-footer Isaac Haas December 17 before turning their attention to the annual Cherokee Invitational tournament December 19-21.