E.A. Sports Today

Piedmont pulls away

Bulldogs shake trend of starting slowly, jump on Pleasant Valley early and roll to area tournament victory

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
PIEDMONT – With the start to a new portion of the season, the Piedmont basketball team is looking to get back to doing things an old way.

For all the success the Bulldogs have enjoyed this season under new coach JoJo Odam, ever since the Calhoun County Tournament they’ve had the disturbing trend of falling behind by double-digits early in the game.
They shook those doldrums Thursday in the semifinals of the Class 3A Area 11 tournament, jumped on Pleasant Valley right from the start and cruised to a 73-46 victory to secure a place in the state sub-region round.
They will play surprising Saks for what could be their fifth area title in a row and 10th since 2008 Saturday; Saks stunned second-seeded Weaver 64-61. The winner hosts Area 15 runner-up Sylvania, while the loser travels to defending state champion Plainview.
“We’ve not played well early the last three or four games,” Odam said. “We’ve been getting off to bad, bad starts and I think four straight games we’ve been behind 10 or 12 in the first quarter. We’re just falling behind and having to dig ourselves out of that hole.
“We got off to fast start tonight. I think it helped being back in our gym. We had three good days of practice and I think that helped a lot.”
Alex Odam led four Piedmont scorers in double figures with a game-high 27. T.J. Fairs had 14, Carl Myers 13 and Silas Thompson came off the bench to score 11. 
It was Myers and Odam who got the Bulldogs off to their fast start. Myers scored the first two baskets of the game, Odam had the next five points and just that quickly the Bulldogs opened a 10-0 lead. Every time the Raiders scored in the first quarter, Piedmont would answer and extended the lead to 15-3, 21-6 and 22-8 before the first quarter ended.
They carried on in the second quarter with an 11-2 start that stretched the lead to 33-12. It was a 20-point game at halftime. Myers had 11 in the first, Odam 15.
“We haven’t had a good start in a while so I tried to come out and give us a good start,” Myers said. “I tried to step up and be a leader and get the game started. It’s rough trying to catch back up if you’re in the first quarter and you’re down by 10. It’s easier just to start the game off good and not be down by 10.”

“We came out hot and were hitting shots,” Odam said, declaring the trend for starting slow “over.”

It wasn’t just confined to the offensive end; the Bulldogs also did a nice job on PV’s Josh Ballew. They held the Raiders’ leading scorer scoreless in the first half; he finished with 10 points. Coleman Haynes led PV with 14 points.
“It’s a whole new season,” JoJo Odam said. “We ended on a two-game losing streak and we talked about it going in, it’s a new season let’s get a winning streak now. If we win five or six now we’re right where we want to be.
“I think Carl got off to a good start and he got us going; he means a lot to us. Then Alex hit the 3 early. I think once we got that lead everybody just kind of felt a little more comfortable.

Piedmont 73, Pleasant Valley 46
PLEASANT VALLEY – Austin Johnson 3 2-2 8, Jake Malsy 1 0-0 3, Josh Ballew 3 4-5 10, Wyatt Ingram 2 0-0 6, Coleman Haynes 6 2-2 14, Garrett Cranmer 2 0-0 5, Colby Gaines 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 8-9 46.
PIEDMONT – Carl Myers 6 0-0 13, Kaedon Jenkins 0 0-2 0, Delo Foster 2 0-0 4, Silas Thompson 4 1-4 10, Alex Odam 10 4-5 27, T.J. Fairs 4 4-6 14, Malachi Jackson 1 0-0 2, Jakari Foster 0 0-1 0, Sean Smith 1 1-2 3, Elijah Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 10-18 73.
Pleasant Valley           10        16        8          12        –          46
Piedmont                     22        24        11        16        –          73
3-point goals: Pleasant Valley 4 (Malsy, Ingram 2, Cranmer); Piedmont 7 (Myers, Thompson, Odam 3, Fairs 2). Fouled out: Johnson. Total fouls: Pleasant Valley 14, Piedmont 13. Officials: Stringer, Stringer, Ned.

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