No. 1 Bears blow away Bulldogs

JACKSONVILLE – Class 3A’s top-ranked Plainview Bears made quick work of the Geraldine Bulldogs and ran away with an 89-55 win in an early-morning matchup in Saturday’s 3A Northeast Regional Semifinals.

“Our energy, our effort and our focus was really good this morning,” Plainview head coach Robi Coker said after the game. “Anytime your playing at 10:30 a.m., you’re worried about the challenge there and I thought our guys did a great job of handling that situation. We were locked in this morning in our shoot-around and had just a phenomenal team effort. I thought that our ability to get matched up in the full court and our pressure over the coarse of the game really gave them problems.”

The Bears jumped out to a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game on on early scores from Caden Millican, Koby Tinker and Clay Cooper.

Geraldine later cut the lead to four on a 3-pointer from Brody Henderson and a layup by Matthew Malone, but that was as close as the Bulldogs got to ever taking a lead in the contest.

A 3-pointer from Jesse Pittman and a pair of scores in the paint from Laramie McCurdy kept the Bulldogs within reach until Plainview closed the last 1:40 of the opening quarter with a 10-2 run.

That run was bookended by Jeffery Armstrong, who started it with a 3-pointer and ended it with a layup just before the buzzer to give Plainview a 27-14 lead at the end of the first.

The Bears quickly stretched their lead to 20 and above with six 3-pointers in the second quarter from Dane Haymon, Haden White, Tinker and Millican.

That helped give the Bears a 51-23 advantage at halftime. Plainview stretched their lead as high as 41 midway through the third and never let Geradline cut it down to less than 30 as they easily held on for the win.

Plainview’s fast pace on both ends of the floor never changed even late in the game with all of the Bears’ starters removed from the game.

Plainview continually found ways to score no matter who was on the court and had a dozen players net points in the game.

“We feel really good about our team,” Coker said. “You guys know we don’t try to play 5-on-5, we try to play 15-on-15. I just though our approach was really good this morning. It led us to easy scoring opportunities and these guys took advantage of it.”

Millican made 7-of-11 attempts from the field and was 4-for-7 from deep range. He led the Bears with 18 points and had four rebounds and three steals.

Armstrong was 7-for-12 shooting with two 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, three boards, three assists and four steals.

Haymon shot 6-for-10 with a pair of threes. He finished with 14 points and four rebounds.

Cade Willingham and Tinker scored eight each and Sebastian Long netted seven.

Tristan Willingham and Devin Foshee scored four each, White and Bailey Dukes netted three each and both Jackson Hosch and Cooper finished with two points each.

Geraldine was led by Henderson’s 17 points on five 3-pointers and two free throws. He also had four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Thomas Willoughby scored 13 on 5-of-12 shooting and had three steals, three rebounds and three assists.

McCurdy scored nine, Jackson Bearden and David White scored four each, Pittman and Seth Maddox score three each and Malone finished with two points.

The win for the Bears marks the third consecutive year that Plainview has eliminated Geraldine from the postseason. Both teams will be area rivals next year in the newly reclassified 3A, Area 15 along with Pisgah and Sylvania.

The Bears will face another familiar foe in the Piedmont Bulldogs today in the 3A Northeast Regional Finals for a spot the state semifinals in Birmingham.

The Bears and Bulldogs have met in Jacksonville each of the last three years, with Plainview winning their last two contests.

Today’s matchup is scheduled to tip off at 5:45 p.m.

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