E.A. Sports Today

PV girls back in the race

Lady Raiders don’t play well, but well enough to slip past Piedmont to tie in the race to host the area tournament

Keshauna Jones took a big step Tuesday in becoming the scoring threat Piedmont's Lady Bulldogs need her to be in the second half of the season.

Keshauna Jones took a big step Tuesday in becoming the scoring threat Piedmont’s Lady Bulldogs need her to be in the second half of the season.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Pleasant Valley coach Brad Hood went around his post-game dressing room asking each player to name one thing they thought the Lady Raiders did well in the game they just won.

To a player, they couldn’t name the first, and they apologized to their coach for it. The best thing about Tuesday night from a PV perspective is that the Lady Raiders won 42-40 to climb back into contention to host its area tournament.

“There’s never a win you’re not happy with, but we literally came out and did nothing we practiced,” Hood said. “This is probably the worst game we played all year — the worst game we played all year. We played better in the game we lost to them than we did tonight. We’re lucky to even win that game.”

But the state-ranked Lady Raiders (13-2) had to win that game, and as he reflected on it, Hood conceded they might have put too much attention on this one.

They needed to beat Piedmont to have any shot at hosting the area tournament and it was all that consumed them after losing to the Lady Bulldogs earlier in the year.

“I know we prepared; we talked for two and a half, three weeks about this game,” Hood said. “I almost think I’ve over-coached this game. The Ohatchee/Ranburne doubleheader (at Christmas on the Creekbank), everything we were talking about during that game, before the game, after the game, was Piedmont.

“We approached those tams like we were playing Piedmont. Everything we ran was approaching that and then we come out tonight and we don’t do any of it.”

Give some props to the Lady Bulldogs (5-9) for that. They played infinitely better in this one that they did in Monday’s loss at White Plains. The only thing they didn’t do was finish.

They had a four-point going into the fourth quarter, but PV wiped that out with a 3-pointer by Mckinley Parris and a three-point play by Atleigh Brannon. It sparked a 12-1 run that gave the Lady Raiders a seven-point lead with 3:30 to play.

Parris led all scorers with 15 points. Brannon had 12. Both hit three 3-pointers.

Piedmont got within two with 1:48 to play, but didn’t make good decisions in key situations down the stretch.

“I knew my girls were capable of playing better than what they played last night,” coach Terrace Ridley said. “Tonight, they’re so young and not understanding of what you have to do when you take a lead.”

Keshauna Jones took a big step toward becoming the scorer Piedmont needs her to be without its two leading scorers injured. She hit four 3-pointers – three in the first half – and had a team-high 14 points.

“She knows she’s got to take that spot and she’s stepping up and doing that,” Ridley said. “She gets a little bit out of control sometimes, but when she gets relaxed, she can shoot that shot and now she has confidence to know she can.”

Now, the area is following the same track as it did last year. PV and Piedmont won on each other’s court and the host site, which ultimately went to Piedmont, was awarded on a coin flip. If both teams hold serve the rest of the year it’ll come down to that again.

Pleasant Valley 42, Piedmont 40

PLEASANT VALLEY (13-2) – Kara Perry 0 3-4 3, Lindsey Pritchett 1 0-0 2, Mckinley Parris 6 0-0 15, Atleigh Brannon 4 1-2 12, Rachel Faucett 0 0-0 0, Kendall Johnson 1 0-0 2, Mikala Simpson 4 0-0 8. Totals 16 4-6 36.

PIEDMONT (5-9) — Jakieya Mitchell 1 0-0 3, Brooke Perry 2 0-0 4, Keshauna Jones 4 2-7 14, Kaitlyn Ridley 4 2-2 11, Lulu Jackson 1 1-2 3, Madison Tyree 0 0-0 0, Rebecca Smart 1 3-8 5. Totals 13 8-19 40.

Pleasant Valley 12 10 6 14 — 42
Piedmont 11 7 14 8 — 40

3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 6 (Parris 3, Brannon 3); Piedmont 6 (Mitchell, Jones 4, Ridley). Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 15, Piedmont 9. Officials: James Wright, Eric Wilson, Lamont Davis.

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