E.A. Sports Today

Bulldog history

Piedmont boys win 10th consecutive area title, and girls make it back-to-back area titles for the first time in 32 years.

Piedmont’s boys beat Weaver 66-45 on Tuesday to win their 10th consecutive area title. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — Piedmont’s extended history to a nice round number Tuesday. Piedmont’s girls connected the present to distant history.

They both beat Weaver in Class 3A, Area 11 tourney finals at Piedmont, the boys winning 66-45 and the girls 62-38.

Piedmont’s boys won their 10th consecutive area title and first under first-year head coach Matt Glover.

The Bulldogs did it despite losing their two top-returning scorers to injuries, Rollie Pinto before the season and Ishmael Bethel on Jan. 25.

“I’m proud of this group,” Glover said. “They’ve fought through adversity. 

“There were some naysayers, I think, once Ish went down, and so I’m proud of the group, proud of the way they handled it. They stepped up and came up with the next-man-up mentality and played for each other, and that showed tonight.”

Piedmont’s girls beat Weaver 62-38 on Tuesday to make it back-to-back area titles for the first time since 1991 and 1992. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Piedmont’s girls won their first area title under first-year head coach Shane Morrow and made it back-to-back area titles for the first time since 1991 and 1992,

It’s a step toward where Morrow, who coached Jacksonville’s boys to a Class 4A state title in 2022, wants to go.

“The basketball history here is good, but it’s not great,” Morrow said. “We’re trying to raise those expectations about area championships, making it to regional, Final Fours and things like that, because it’s the ultimate goal.”

For now, area finalists advance to the subregional round. Area champions host, so Piedmont’s girls will play host to Area 13 runner-up J.B. Pennington on Friday at 6 p.m., and the boys will play host to Vinemont on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Both Weaver teams will go on the road to Susan Moore, possibly on the same day.

“There’s a possibility we could both play on the same night (Friday),” Weaver boys coach Beau Winn said. “If we don’t, then we (the boys) will play Saturday at 6 o’clock.”

As for Tuesday’s games, most valuable player Ava Pope scored 19 points with five 3-pointers, and Jenna Duke added 10 points with two 3-pointers. Josie Young hit three threes for nine points.

The Bulldogs led 18-10 after a slow start to the first quarter and broke the game open with a 19-2 second quarter. Pope hit three of Piedmont’s five threes in the second quarter.

“I’m super, super excited that we won it back to back,” Pope said. “It was huge, and we know that we’ve got to come out Friday and play, because that would be our first time going to regionals since I couldn’t even tell you (2008).” 

Aaliyah Marks led Weaver with 24 points, including four 3-pointers.

“It’s been a time coming” since Weaver made a subregional, Weaver coach Jamie Burns said. “I told the girls. We’re paving the way. It’s been a while since we got to this moment tonight.”

MVP Colton Proctor led all scorers with 30 points in the boys’ area final, hitting five threes. Cole Wilson hit four threes en route to 16 points. 

Piedmont scored 16 of the third quarter’s first eight points to get out to a 41-25 lead then the first 10 points of the fourth quarter.

“We just hit another level,” Proctor said. “We just knew. We got it going, and shots finally started dropping.”

Weaver got 12 points from Harper Williams before he had to leave the game in the third quarter because of a cut on his head. He required stitches after the game.

KeShawn Allen added eight points, and the Bearcats trailed 25-23 at halftime.

Losing Williams “hurt,” Winn said. “We tried to put him back in, and we thought we had it (the bleeding) stopped. About the time he went in, we saw it again.

“He did a good job playing defense on number 20 (Jaylen Brown).”

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