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PREP HOOPS: Cougars looking to build off early momentum
Piedmont Hoops
After winning its first two games of the season, Piedmont Academy has its sights set high for the remainder of the 2020-2021 campaign. - Special to The Covington News

MONTICELLO, Ga. — The Piedmont Academy varsity boys’ basketball team has started the new season on a positive note.

The Cougars (2-0 overall, 1-0 in region play) had little preparation time before their first game but have not allowed that fact to hamper their efforts. Piedmont defeated Central Georgia Arts, 69-42, before opening region play with an impressive 60-35 win against Oak Mountain at home Saturday.

“We have started off well,” coach Will Johnson said. “It was good to be able to play a game before we played Oak Mountain. We only had one day of practice before the season opener but it was still good to play. We then spent the rest of the week preparing for Oak Mountain.”

In the victory against the Oak Mountain Warriors, Ryan Holder scored 27 points. Holder also scored 24 points in the season opener.

Luke Welch finished with 15 points against Oak Mountain while Jackson Welch also finished in double figures with 11.

“We responded well against Oak Mountain,” Johnson said. “We are only six or seven players deep right now. It is not easy for our football players to be able to go the whole way. It takes a while to get into basketball shape.”

Holding the Warriors to 35 points showed how strong Piedmont was on the defensive end of the court.

“It was a great start to our region schedule,” Johnson said. “It looks like Oak Mountain, Windsor and us are among the favorites so to get a big win like that was important.”

Cole Wade and Bradley Greenwood are also in the starting lineup for the Cougars with Spencer Carter the first player off the bench.

“We have to make sure to stay out of foul trouble,” Johnson said. “We will need Spencer to come in and help with on defense and with rebounding. Our starting five is strong. Several of them have been through the battles with me. If we can stay healthy, we feel we can do some damage in the region.”

Johnson added that the 2020-2021 season should be a strong one for Holder. 

“He is an all-around player,” he said. “He has progressed so much from his time as an eighth grader. He can beat you off the dribble. So much of his game is impressive and he is only going to get better.”

In the first two games Greenwood has impressed his coaches with cutting down on turnovers. Greenwood finished with eight points in Saturday’s win.

Johnson said having Luke Welch and Jackson Welch both healthy has also been a major plus.

Piedmont will travel to Brentwood on Friday for a non-region contest at 6:30 p.m.

“It will be a good test for us,” Johnson said. “Adam Lord is a good coach. He took George Walton Academy to a Final Four. It will be a strong early road challenge.”