By Chris Yow
CULLEOKA — Perry County outscored host Culleoka by 10 points in the third quarter Monday night to extend a six-point halftime cushion, and held off a late Warrior rally to stay unbeaten on the year with an 82-72 win.
Gunner Bradford scored all 10 of his points in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers from the corner, to help the Vikings put some distance between the teams after intermission. Culleoka coach Mike Lovett said his team has struggled coming out of the locker room all season to this point, and the Warriors committed nine turnovers in the frame.
“I don’t know what it is, but we come out and dig ourselves into a hole and can’t get out,” he said.
Nothing went right for the Warriors in the period. Even a technical foul on Perry County’s Jeremiah Donaldson ended with Donaldson making a pair of free throws awarded before the technical and then Landon Andrews — who finished with a team-high 31 points — missing both of the subsequent free throws, before the Warriors turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
The hole was too deep on Monday, but Lovett’s team didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing by 16 points at the end of the third, Culleoka went on an 11-2 run to start the fourth, cutting the lead to 70-63 just two minutes into the quarter.
“We just dug ourselves into too big of a hole tonight against a quality team,” Lovett said. “Defensively, they put a little more pressure on us coming out of halftime and it bothered us.”
Foul trouble played a big part as three Warriors fouled out and were forced to sit crucial minutes throughout the second half, including Tavon Bagsby who had 14 points in the loss. The Vikings took full advantage of those opportunities as well, making 24-of-31 free throws in the game. Tyler Dudley was 12-of-13 from the stripe and poured in 43 points to lead all scorers.
As the Warriors cut the lead to six points on several occasions, they couldn’t get any closer. With a capacity of only 30% in the gym, Lovett said COVID restrictions may have played a small part in his team being unable to complete the improbable comeback.
“On a normal night, it would be packed in here,” he said. “Tonight we’d go on a run and it wouldn’t be really loud. If this were any other year, you wouldn’t have been able to hear anything.”
Long ball pushes Lady Vikings over Culleoka: Briley Trull drained all four of her 3-point baskets in the second quarter to help Perry County pull away from Culleoka on Monday night en route to a 52-34 win. The sharp-shooting Lady Vikings hit seven 3s, something coach Derrick Adkison said he’d hoped to slow down.
“On the film, I saw they had several good shooters, and we didn’t want to give them that much space,” he said.
Adkison mentioned his team was recently quarantined, and he’d not had as much time with his team as he would have liked.
“There are no excuses, but we can’t call any plays, so we just have to run and try to find open shots,” he said.
Breanna Dickson was a bright spot for the Lady Warriors, scoring a team-high 13 points, while Maci McKennon added nine.
Cianna Wilson poured in a game-high 20 points, including 10 of the Lady Vikings’ 12 first quarter points.
Next Up: Culleoka is scheduled to host Houston County Tuesday night in a doubleheader, beginning at 6 p.m.
Perry Co. boys 82, Culleoka 72
P 23 20 25 14 — 82
C 19 18 15 20 — 72
Perry Co. (82) — Jackson Tatum 9, Tyler Dudley 43, Jeremiah Donaldson 5, Gunner Bradford 10, Cody Burney 3, Titan Trull 2, Lachlan Matthews 9, Linden Brown 1
Culleoka (72) — Tavon Bagsby 14, Landon Andrews 31, Eric Mick 11, Cooper Parks 9, Hunter Harris 2, Ranger Graham 5
3-pointers– Perry Co. 8 (Dudley 3, Bradford 2, Matthews 2, Burney), Culleoka 6 (Bagsby, Andrews 3, Mick 2)
Perry Co. girls 52, Culleoka 34
P 12 20 9 11 — 52
C 9 8 11 6 — 34
Perry Co. (52) — Emmaleigh Markin 2, Jayla Monroe 5, Briley Trull 14, Skylen Carrill 9, Chayselyn Dabbs 2, Cianna Wilson 20
Culleoka (34) — Madison Ingram 3, Breanna Dickson 13, Hannah Collins 3, Tyler Reischmann 2, Maci McKennon 9, Kylie Thomas 2, Emilee Rochester 2
3-pointers — Perry Co. 7 (Monroe, Trull 4, Carrill 2), Culleoka 1 (Collins)