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Pike County tops Abbeville for Region 4 title

The Pike County boy’s basketball team is moving on to regionals.

The Bulldogs got off to a hot start early and fended off a late Abbeville run to defeat the Yellow Jackets in a fast-paced, high-scoring 73-66 Area 4 championship game in Brundidge Saturday night.

Kamari Jackson led Pike County with 22 points on the night.

With the victory Saturday, Pike County adds the Area 4 tournament championship to its regular season championship just a week earlier.

“This was a great game tonight and I’m excited not only for this basketball team but for this whole community,” Pike County head coach Doug Holland said. “These players worked extremely hard to be here and I’m proud. My hat is off to Abbeville. They played a great game as well.”

After falling behind 1-0 to begin the game, Pike County reeled off 11-straight points, jetting out to an 11-1 lead midway through the first quarter thanks in large part to sloppy transition play by Abbeville in its attempt to break the Bulldogs’ full-court press.

Late in the quarter, Pike County cooled off, making way for a Yellow Jacket 8-2 run to get within five points of the Bulldogs’ lead. But as time expired, Jackson heaved a half-court shot to break Abbeville’s run at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, both teams’ offenses exploded for a combined 41 points.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to as many as 13 in the second quarter, but Abbeville responded, narrowing the lead to 34-28 late in the quarter after a Marquise Walker basket.

But momentum once again swung back Pike County’s way, after five-straight points when Jerrell Lawson converted a 3-point play and Xavier Allen sunk a jumper before going into halftime up 44-33.

“I told them they (Abbeville) were going to make a run because they are a championship team,” Holland said. “Coach Knight is a class act coach and we knew they were going to make a run. We just had to keep our momentum and keep our composure.”

Abbeville opened the second half with four-straight points to get within seven of the lead, but Jackson yet again sunk a 3-pointer to extend the Bulldogs’ lead back to 10.

As fouls began to pile up late in the third for Pike County, Abbeville took advantage, narrowing the lead to seven.

But the Bulldogs regrouped in the fourth, extending their lead to 13 points before holding on to win by seven.