Piedmont started strong and finished the same way as the Bulldogs defeated Glencoe 50-42 in the championship game of the Class 3A, Area 10 boys basketball tournament at Glencoe on Saturday. In 11 seasons under head coach Tommy Lewis, the Bulldogs (15-14) have won eight area tournament championships – 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.
All five of Piedmont’s starters – seniors Austin Brazier, A.J. Fairs, Taylor Hayes and Easton Kirk and junior Cardavion Myers – made the all-tournament team. Brazier was named MVP.
As an area champion, Piedmont hosted Wellborn in a sub-regional game Tuesday night. With another win over Wellborn, the Bulldogs will advance to the Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum. They will face the winner of the sub-regional game between Geraldine and Plainview at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
“We had a good team concept, what we need to do to win the ballgame instead of what I need to do,” Lewis said of the win over Glencoe.
Brazier scored 23 points. He hit his only 3-point attempt and was 10-for-13 from the floor around the basket. The play was physical and Brazier absorbed more than his share of punishment in getting shots off and into the basket. He said assistant coach Matt Glover worked with him at practice, using football padding to deliver lots of contact.
“I think that helps me a lot finishing strong like that,” Brazier said.
Hayes scored nine points and added three rebounds and two assists. Easton Kirk contributed eight points, seven rebounds and two assists. Myers and T.J. Fairs each scored three points. A.J. Fairs and Weston Kirk had two points apiece.
A.J. Fairs led in assists with three. He also had three rebounds and two steals. Cardavion Myers had four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Carl Myers also had four rebounds.
The Bulldogs hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, helping them to a 17-8 lead when the period closed, then did not connect on another trey the remainder of the contest. Piedmont led 31-24 at halftime.
In the third quarter, an inside basket by Glencoe’s Cole Holbrooks cut Piedmont’s lead to 32-31 with 4:32 to go in the third. From that point, neither team scored until Brazier got a basket from the paint with 1:29 left in the third. Hayes closed out the third quarter scoring with a free throw and Piedmont led 35-31.
Brazier got another inside bucket on the first possession of the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Micah Sizemore got Glencoe within three at 37-34 but that was as close as the Yellow Jackets got. Brazier muscled home two more baskets for a 41-34 advantage and the Bulldogs lead remained at least two possessions the rest of the way.
Piedmont needed a final-second basket by Brazier to defeat Pleasant Valley 42-41 Feb. 7 to reach the championship game. The Bulldogs led 24-17 at halftime then trailed 34-29 after three quarters. Brazier’s winning shot came after A.J. Fairs missed, rebounded his shot then passed to Brazier who was alone at the basket. Brazier ended with 14 points and seven rebounds. Easton Kirk had 10 points and six boards. Hayes scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Carl Myers tallied four points, A.J. Fairs three, Weston Kirk two and Lee Stanley one.
Slow starts in the Class 3A, Area 10 tournament final Friday against Glencoe and Monday against Wellborn in sub-regional play ended the basketball season for the Piedmont girls.
Glencoe downed Piedmont 52-34 after leading 14-7 after one quarter and 28-12 at halftime.
The loss sent the Bulldogs on the road for their sub-regional game. Wellborn won 50-41. The Panthers were up 11-2 after one quarter, 22-11 at intermission and 32-19 when the third quarter ended. Piedmont scored more points in the fourth quarter – 22 – than they had scored in the first three quarters combined.
“We’ve got to have consistency throughout. We can’t play well two games then the next two games we just dig ourselves in a hole and don’t play at all,” Piedmont head coach Terrace Ridley said. “I think that’s exactly what happened.”
In the loss at Wellborn, Breanna Brazier scored 16 points on five 3-point baskets and a free throw but all of her points came in the fourth quarter. Sydney Prater had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kaitlyn Ridley scored eight points and pulled down six boards. Jakieya Mitchell had three points. Rebecca Smart scored two points, the only two points her team scored in the first quarter, and had 16 rebounds.
Against Glencoe, Smart and LuLu Jackson each had eight points. Ridley and Mitchell had six points apiece. Prater scored four points and Brazier had two points.
Piedmont’s season ended at 10-17.
Spring Garden girls making usual trip to JSU
The Spring Garden girls return to Jacksonville State’s to Pete Mathews Coliseum, their second home court, for the Northeast Regional on Friday at 3 p.m.
Their opponent will be intra-county rival Cedar Bluff. For the first time in at least 10 years, the two schools are not in the same area and they have not played one another this season.
The Panthers (22-7) advanced with a decisive 75-35 win over visiting Appalachian on Monday in a sub-regional game. Spring Garden led 23-5 after one quarter and 42-12 at halftime.
Tiyonna Rogers paced the Panthers with 25 points, nine rebounds and seven steals. Savannah Dempsey was 6 of 12 from outside the 3-point arc for 18 points and added three assists. Payton McGinnis was 7-for-9 at the free throw line and 3-for-7 from long range for 16 points. Kerstin Bryant and Madison Jennings each scored four points. A.J. Broome and Macy Reedy tallied three points apiece and Alexis Adkison had two points. Broom led in assists with six and added three steals and three rebounds.
Another dominating performance, a 74-20 win over Jacksonville Christian on Friday, earned Spring Garden the Class 1A, Area 10 tournament championship. Rogers ended with 30 points, seven boards and two steals. Dempsey netted 11 points. Broome contributed 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. Jennings had nine points and three rebounds. Reedy scored eight points and made three steals. Katie Williams had four points and four steals. McGinnis ended with two points.
Spring Garden boys
The Spring Garden boys traveled to Gadsden on Monday for a sub-regional game with Coosa Christian. The Panthers enter the game 16-9. The sub-regional winner will play Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State.
A 70-38 loss to defending Class 1A state champion Sacred Heart in the 1A, Area 10 tournament championship game Saturday sent the Panthers on the road. Riley Austin scored 11 points and Dylan Rogers 10 points for Spring Garden. Both Rogers and Austin were all-tournament selections.
On Feb. 7, Spring Garden assured itself the opportunity to play in the sub-regional round with a 73-46 win over Faith Christian. Austin recorded a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds and added five assists. Joe Rogers scored 21 points and was 4-for-5 at the free throw line. Dylan Rogers had 12 points and three assists. Draevan Bowman drilled three 3-point baskets for nine points. Ben Ivey’s game included four points, eight rebounds and six assists. Luke Ivey and Isaiah Sanchez each scored two points.