By PATRICK CASEY
The Ponce de Leon girls basketball team used a hot start to hold off county rival Holmes County in an opening round Class 2A playoff game on Thursday night by a 53-28 count.
The Pirates earned their third win of the year against the Bonifay squad as they rolled to a 21-8 lead after one quarter of play behind strong shooting from the perimeter as four different players connected on a three-point shot during the frame. PDL canned 8-of-21 shots in the opening eight minutes of play while their defense held the Bluedevils to 4-of-11 shooting in jumping out to a double-digit lead.
The Pirates pushed the lead to 27-13 at halftime as both teams’ defenses took over in the second quarter as neither team shot the ball well from the floor. Holmes County hit halftime having made only six shots from the floor.
Turnovers kept the score down in the third quarter as both teams struggled to take care of the basketball. The Pirates got five of Jasmine Flock’s 13 points in that period as she helped the home team to a decided advantage in the rebounding effort on the night.
The Bluedevils tried to rally from long distance but the shots would not fall as they managed to hit only 12-of-50 shots on the night as their season came to an end with a 22-7 record. Shelby Clark led Holmes County with six points in the contest.
PDL got 13 points from Flock as well as 10 points from Kaitlyn Carroll in shooting 22-of-56 from the floor on the night.
“We got up on them early and limited their shooting,” PDL coach Tim Alford said after the game. “They are awful quick if you let them run the floor. The defense did a great job to slow them down. Jordan Thomas gave us a solid effort with eight points tonight and we really rebounded well.”
PDL improved to 26-3 with the win and moved into a second round contest at Graceville on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Details were not available at press time. Should the Pirates win their second round contest, they would host the Region I final on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: PDL is now 32-16 in the state playoffs in 18 appearances. Tim Alford is in his 16th season as head coach with a record of 350-135 at PDL. The Pirates have won 20 games in 12 of his 16 seasons as coach. PDL has won all 10 of their home games this season and is 68-8 at home the last six seasons. PDL won the state championship in 1988-89 and 1999-2000 in Class A. The Pirates won at home over Graceville in the playoffs last year 49-45.