Bulldogs hold off Ider comeback in victory
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The Priceville Bulldogs stamped their ticket to the Northeast Regionals with a 73-62 home win over Ider Friday night. The trip to the regional tournament is the first for Priceville since re-establishing its varsity athletics program four years ago.
The Bulldogs (19-11) opened the Northeast Regionals at Jacksonville State University Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against White Plains.
Against Ider, the Bulldogs experienced a roller coaster of a game where Priceville would open a big lead only to see the Hornets come roaring back. The Bulldogs opened the game with a 9-2 run and led by as many as 10 points in the first half before taking a 32-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Priceville saw its lead diminish down to 32-30 with 6:41 left in the third quarter and Ider's B.J. Hayes at the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game. Bulldogs coach Darrell Haynes called a timeout before Hayes could attempt the free throws.
"I just told our guys that we can't get sucked into (Ider's) game," Haynes said of what he told the team in that timeout. "They play a certain style of play and it's all designed to get you to play their way and we occasionally got sucked into playing their way. I told our guys to just settle down, play good defense, make good passes and hit the open shots."
The team took its coach's words to heart. After Hayes missed both free throws, the Bulldogs exploded offensively and stretched their lead to 53-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Ider managed to cut the lead back to seven points but could get no closer as Priceville held on to the victory while its students and fans rushed the court.
Haynes said that he was impressed with his team's ability to find the open man in Ider's defensive scheme.
"That's one thing we really talked about coming into the game," he said. "We had a feeling they were going to leave some people open and we just got to keep our head up and make good passes and we'd get some easy shots. For the most part, that's what we did here tonight."
Priceville junior Josh Bedwell paced the Bulldogs to the win with a double-double performance. He finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds, both team highs. K.C. Green added 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. Stephen Hardiman and Robert Varner each scored eight points.
For Ider, who came into the game with 21 wins, Hayes led the way with 19 points. Brent Norris added 14.
Haynes said that he has been happy with his team's play recently and doesn't plan any major changes as the Bulldogs advance to Jacksonville.
"I haven't looked past this game; I don't even know who were going to be facing (at Jacksonville)," Haynes said Friday night. "We've been doing the same thing all year and there's no reason to change too much at this point in the season. We're going to just try to improve on what we already do well."