Plainview wins DeKalb County Tournament
January 29, 2016
Southern Torch (3801 articles)
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Plainview wins DeKalb County Tournament

By: Joseph M. Morgan

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala.—The Plainview Bears (20-3) defeated the Geraldine Bulldogs (12-6) Thursday night with a final score of 74-69 in the finals of the DeKalb County Tournament to clinch their second county championship in a row and become back-to-back DeKalb County Champions.

With both teams ranked in the top 10 in the state in 3A Varsity Boys basketball (Geraldine No. 7, Plainview No. 9) the county championship was certain to be an exciting matchup. Both teams dominated their opponents in earlier rounds of the tournament. In the first two rounds the Bulldogs outscored their opponents 137-57, a margin that only slightly edged out Plainview’s dominant 117-61 advantage in their tournament victories. Based on earlier rounds of tournament play the two teams seemed perfectly matched for each other going into the championship game. Neither team would disappoint, each stepping up to give DeKalb County basketball fans a great performance and an exciting championship game to watch.

“Obviously the county tournament is very important and an honor to win. It was a high level game with lots of emotions and I’m proud my guys were able to perform in that environment,” Plainview Head Coach Robi Coker said. “I’m proud of our kids effort and approach. We’re playing well right now because no one cares who gets the credit. We play numerous lineups with guys at multiple positions, we are sharing the ball, and taking great shots. It’s a fun group to coach because they like to compete and are willing to sacrifice for the team.”

Despite reigning as the defending county champions, the Plainview Bears went into the tournament finals as the underdog. Geraldine held a higher ranking in Class 3A than Plainview going into the game. But perhaps more compelling, earlier this season the Bulldogs delivered the Bears one of their only three losses when the two teams faced off just over a month ago in the Sand Mountain Christmas Tournament and Geraldine defeated Plainview by 25 points in a one-sided 73-48 victory.

Underdogs perhaps, but either way the Bears came to play, and play they did—as a team. In what turned out to be a dogfight until the end, Plainview narrowly managed to maintain a lead over the Bulldogs throughout what proved to be a very close game. Geraldine played tough and kept themselves in the game until the very end, but ultimately the Bulldogs came up just short, falling to the Bears by 5.

Plainview played what could only be described as unselfish basketball in their victory Thursday night, with three of five starters scoring in double digits and the remaining two putting up 9 points each. At the end of the first, the Bears held a 16-14 lead over the Bulldogs. The game remained close in the second with Plainview holding a 3-point lead going into the half, up 21-18 over Geraldine. The Bears found a hot shooting streak in the third led by freshman guard Koby Tinker who made three of the five 3-pointers Plainview knocked down in the third quarter. The Bears led 54-48 going into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs managed to cut the lead to three in the final minutes of the fourth quarter but never managed to pull ahead. Plainview went on to win the game 74-69.

Plainview was led in scoring by the hot hand of freshman Caden Millican who put up 24 points and 6 rebounds on the night, shooting an impressive 4 of 6 from the 3-point line. Tournament MVP Jefferey Armstrong, a sophomore, also delivered a solid performance with 13 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds. Also in double digits for the Bears was sophomore Cooper Clay who scored 11. Freshman Koby Tinker and senior Jake Slay also each dropped in 9 for the Bears. Geraldine was led by seniors Cade White and Colby Mincey who scored 20 and 16.

Coker said he is proud of his team and honored to have won back-to-back county championships, but knows there is still work left to be done as he continues to build his program at Plainview.

“These two tournament championships are completely different,” Coker said. ” This one is about how good this team can be and working to accomplish our goals. Winning two in a row is a positive sign that our program is healthy. One of our goals each season is to compete for the county championship. We want to build a program that has those expectations.”

After the game, 10 players from the eight participating teams were selected to the DeKalb County All-Tournament Team. Four of the 10 chosen were Plainview Bears—Plainview sophomore and DeKalb County Tournament MVP Jeffery Armstrong, senior WIll Kirk, sophomore Clay Cooper, and freshman Caden Millican. Geraldine also had four players chosen for the all-tournament team—Geraldine seniors Colby Mincey, Cade White and Tate Richey and junior Justin Murphy. Also chosen to the all-tournament team were Hunter Hill of Sylvania and Caleb Bailey of Crossville.

 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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