E.A. Sports Today

Lady Raiders run Bulldogs

Pleasant Valley sidesteps another area rival in county tournament quarterfinals

Pleasant Valley's Atleigh Brannon (5) attacks the basket against Piedmont. On the cover, PV's Kara Perry (00) and Piedmont's Brooke Perry get to a loose ball at the same time. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Pleasant Valley’s Atleigh Brannon (5) attacks the basket against Piedmont. On the cover, PV’s Kara Perry (00) and Piedmont’s Brooke Perry get to a loose ball at the same time. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – A scene all too familiar for the Pleasant Valley Lady Raiders in the Calhoun County Tournament happened once again Wednesday night at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

Again, they had to face a local rival in the quarterfinals, and again they won.

This time though, it came a little easier.

The fourth-seeded, 10th-ranked Lady Raiders beat the Piedmont Lady Bulldogs 40-25, in a game full of fast-paced breakaways and strong defense.

Atleigh Brannon led all scorers with 14 points as PV (18-2) cruised through the first half. Then, as the game still seemed within striking distance for Piedmont in the second half, the Lady Raiders hit a 12-2 run to put their 11th consecutive victory out of reach.

“It was a big game for us,” Brannon said. “They are in our area and we split the first two games of the season with them, so it’s nice to get that third win. It is really different playing in this atmosphere though. It’s so big and not what were used to, so this was big for us.”

Brannon had five rebounds to go with her stellar scoring. Mikala Simpson had 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore McKinley Parris had a strong first half, but went out with an apparent knee injury at the start of the fourth quarter. She scored eight points, all in the first half.

“She has battled this before,” PV coach Brad Hood said. “Last time this happened was the practice before the Piedmont game three weeks ago. We iced it and she came back and played 50 percent, so we will see what happens.”

Parris will get at least a day to rest the knee. The Lady Raiders play Oxford in the tournament semifinals Friday at 4 p.m.

Piedmont only scored single digits in each quarter, and only three in the third. Keshauna Jones led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with nine points. Freshman Brooke Perry scored six points and had six rebounds, while Kaitlyn Ridley had seven.

“I was pleased with the way we defended them today,” Hood said. “We knew we would have to pack it in. I was pleased with the tempo in the first half. We had 38 shots, but to only come away with 21 points was kind of disheartening. I am proud of the way our girls played tonight and give Piedmont credit: They are a really good — hard playing team.”

Last year in a similar situation here, and one of the best games of the tournament, the Lady Raiders barely escaped from Ohatchee with a 61-55 overtime victory. Hood understands the history and hopes to keep moving on, but he also knows all too well who lies ahead.

“We are ready to keep the ball rolling,” Brannon said. “Regardless who it is, I believe we are a great team and will play well.”

Pleasant Valley 40, Piedmont 25

PLEASANT VALLEY (18-2) – Kara Perry 3 0-4 6, Mckinley Parris 0 0-0 0, Atleigh Brannon 3 7-9 14, Alyssa Cash 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Lawler 0 0-0 0, Kendall Johnson 0 1-2 1, Mikala Simpson 3 4-6 11, Taylor Barthel 0 0-0 0, Courtney Upton 0 0-0 0, Emily Cochran 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 12-21 40.

PIEDMONT — Samirra Braswell 0 1-4 1, Brooke Perry 3 0-1 6, Keshuana Jones 4 1-4 9, Kaitlyn Ridley 1 4-6 7, Lulu Jackson 0 0-2 0, Rebecca Smart 0 0-4 0, Jakieya Mitchell 1 0-0 2. Totals 8 6-21 25.

Piedmont 8 8 3 6 — 25
Pleasant Valley 6 15 10 5 — 40

3-point goals: Piedmont 1 (Ridley); PV 3 (Simpson, Parris, Brannon). Total fouls: Piedmont 18, PV 15.

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