Lakeside Academy's Kasey Grant (13) and Mary Spivey (5) battle Pike Liberal Arts School's Katie Ward (5) for control of the ball during a high school basketball game in Troy, Ala., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (Photo/Thomas Graning)
Lakeside Academy's Kasey Grant (13) and Mary Spivey (5) battle Pike Liberal Arts School's Katie Ward (5) for control of the ball during a high school basketball game in Troy, Ala., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

Archived Story

New year, same season

Published 11:01pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gene Allen coached varsity girls basketball in Georgia at his very first coaching stop.

That was over 20 years ago.

Friday afternoon Allen, who is the head coach of the Pike Liberal Arts varsity boys team, will return to the girls bench in relief of his friend Craig Kennedy.

Kennedy is in Canada attending his father’s funeral, and Allen gladly stepped in to lend a hand.

“Coach Kennedy is a great guy, and he fantastic coach,” said Allen. “He needed some help with things, so I stepped in. I know he would do the same for me if I needed him to. Hopefully, we have him a win when he gets home.

The styles of play between the Lady Patriots and Allen’s regular team are “really different,” but he feels he is up to the task.

“The biggest thing is that I am not really familiar with the girl’s offense and defense,” Allen said. “I have watched them, but they don’t play the same style we do with the guys. However, I do know when someone isn’t playing hard, and the basics of the game. We will run the stuff they are comfortable with.”

Allen’s regular team comes in to the second half on a bit of run.

The Patriots claimed runner up in the Corey Jones Memorial Tournament in Ashford over the holiday’s and have won three of their past four games.

Senior Chan Avant has led Pike throughout the season, but Allen wants to see better play from his other starters during the next stretch of games.

“We know that teams are going to try to take Chan out of the game, and if they do our other guys have to step up.” Allen said. “We need to make more shots from the floor and put pressure on the team to back off Chan. When he gets doubled, the other guys have to be confident with their shot and take it.”

Pike returns to the floor Friday at 1 p.m. against Abbeville Christian Academy All four Patriot teams will be action.

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