Pierce County won three of its four games with the last three being one possession affairs against competition in the highest three classifications.
The Bears (5-4), playing at full strength for the first time all season with the return of its two-sport athletes from the state champion football team, began the week beating Clinch County (2-1) 60-40 Monday, January 4.
Pierce County survived a thriller a day later knocking off Class 7A Lowndes High (3-2) 46-45.
PCHS had its three-game winning streak snapped by visiting Class 6A Brunswick (9-1) falling 64-63 Thursday, January 7. The Pirates, winners of five straight, rolled 73-13 in the first meeting between the two schools back on December 17 at home.
The Bears wrapped up the four-game slate Saturday afternoon, January 9, rallying for a 55-53 win over Class 5A Coffee (6-6).
Pierce County hits the road for three games this week with two being Region 1-AAA matchups. The Bears traveled Tuesday to Tattnall County to open region play, go to Ludowici Friday, January 15, to face region member Long County, and wrap up the week visiting Wayne County in a non-region affair Saturday, January 16.
Pierce County will host Appling County Tuesday, January 19 in the first of three home games that week.
Clinch County 40
Pierce County outscored the visiting Panthers in every quarter to pull away for the victory.
The Bears claimed a 12-10 lead by the end of the first period. PCHS tripled its advantage by intermission outscoring the Panthers 16-12 in the second quarter for a 28-22 margin.
Pierce County doubled its lead by the end of the third stanza outscoring the visitors 16-10 for a 44-32 advantage. The Bears doubled up Clinch County 16-8 over the final eight minutes for the 20-point margin.
Zay Plummer paced PCHS with a game-high 23 points. Maleek Chandel was next with 13 points.
Jaquez White and Jermaine Brewton followed with seven points and six points respectively. A.J. Staten chipped in five points with D.J. Bell and Colin Waters adding three points apiece.
PCHS finished 9-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Jeremiah Williams was Clinch County’s lone double-figure scorer finishing with 12 points. The Panthers were 11-of-28 from the free throw line.
The Bears took their final lead with just over a minute to play and held off Lowndes for the win.
Pierce County grabbed a 13-8 lead at the end of the opening eight minutes. The Vikings cut two points off the deficit by halftime outscoring PCHS 12-10 to trail 23-20.
Lowndes used a 15-11 scoring advantage in the third quarter to take a 35-34 lead into the fourth stanza. The game went back-and-forth over the final eight minutes with the Bears outscoring the visitors 12-10 to get the win.
White paced a balanced PCHS attack with eight points. Staten followed with seven points while Bell and Brewton chipped in six points apiece.
Jayden Crews and Plummer bagged five points apiece. Jeb Redick and Chandel contributed four points and three points respectively. Ty Myles bucketed two points.
Lowndes was paced by Jahbori Raines with 15 points.
Pierce County missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer spoiling a 61-point swing and an upset of the Pirates.
PCHS scored more points in the opening period than it did in the first meeting against Brunswick. The Pirates’ biggest lead came in the opening minutes in racing out to an 8-2 advantage. Pierce County battled back to tie the score at 13-all, one of 10 ties in the first three quarters, before the visitors claimed an 18-15 lead.
The Bears grabbed their first lead, one of 12 lead changes through three quarters, at 19-18 on a free throw by Plummer (team-high 16 points). It marked the first of seven lead changes in the second period.
White’s (seven points) basket tied the game at 25-apiece and started a 7-0 run that ended with PCHS holding its biggest lead at 30-25. The Pirates responded with a 6-0 spurt for a 31-30 advantage. The lead changed hands three times over the final minute with Pierce County taking a 34-33 lead at the break.
Brunswick scored the first seven points of the third period to grab a 40-34 lead. A 10-2 run by the Bears followed for a 44-42 lead. The visitors outscored PCHS 11-5 in the final two minutes of the period for a 53-49 lead.
The tilt continued to see-saw back-and-forth with the Pirates clinging to a 64-63 lead in the final seconds. An inbounds play from the baseline under the PCHS goal on the last attempt of the game was off target.
Bell scored 13 of his season-best 15 points in the second half to follow Plummer’s lead. Chandel was next with 10 points with seven coming in the fourth quarter.
Staten connected on three treys in the first half in scoring his nine points. Redick added four points with Brewton contributing two points.
PCHS connected on 13-of-15 free throws to keep the game close and made a season-high eight treys.
Tyrese Jones scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the first half to lead Brunswick. Xavier Bean netted 14 points with Cameron Johnson scoring all 10 of his points in the second half.
PCHS overcame a two-point deficit entering the fourth quarter outscoring the Trojans by four points for the victory.
Bell (season-high 23 points), Chandel (season-high 15 points) and Plummer (11 points) combined for 49 of Pierce County’s 55 points.
Coffee also had a trio of players in double figures with Xazavian Simpson and Antonio Reynolds (10 in fourth quarter) scoring 11 points apiece. Demark Smith contributed 10 points.
The Trojans jumped out to a 12-8 lead after one quarter. PCHS shaved three points off the deficit in the second period to trail 22-21 at intermission in the nip-and-tuck affair.
The game continued to sway back-and-forth in the third quarter with Coffee using a 16-15 scoring advantage to double its margin to 38-36. The Bears outpointed Coffee 19-15 over the final eight minutes to notch the win.
Brewton and Staten were the only other players to score for PCHS finishing with three points each.