PLAS picks up two big Region wins

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 1999

Sports Editor

Ask most coaches and they’ll tell you that defense wins championships. The Pike Liberal Arts basketball teams put that theory to good use Monday night at Hooper.

With a pair of Region games on the line, the girls’ and boys’ varsity put together two of their best defensive efforts of the season and pulled out two big road wins improving their Region records. The girls edged their competition 33-31 while the boys notched an impressive 18-point win, 41-23.

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In a low-scoring affair for both teams, the Lady Patriots edged the Hooper girls 33-31 to push their overall record above .500 at 7-6 and their Region record to 2-1.

PLAS post player Sabrina Swindle hit two free throws with under 30 seconds left to break a 31-31 tie. Swindle finished with a team-high eight points in the low-scoring contest.

Before Swindle was able to ice the contest, Lady Patriot point guard Kayla Petrey had showed some poise at the charity stripe as well knotting the score with her only points of the game. She hit the two free throws down the stretch to complement a fantastic defensive effort.

"This was probably Kayla’s best defensive game of the year," PLAS head coach Jim Ryan said. "She completely shut down their best player and did all the little things we needed to pull this one off.

"To go in and steal this one for the sweep for the season is just fantastic," he continued. "We focused on their best players defensively and scored the points we needed to to win the game."

Katie Sanders and Shaunna Wheeler both hit for six points with Wheeler’s coming on two big 3-pointers.

The boys’ game turned into another defensive clinic put on by the Patriots.

After putting a zone defense on to start the game and allowing the Hooper shooters to go wild from around the perimeter, Ryan sent his troops into a tight man-to-man and to say it worked was an understatement.

The Patriots held Hooper to only 11 points in the final three quarters including a scoreless third quarter which let PLAS overpower their opponents offensively the rest of the way.

"Our defense was smothering to say the least," Ryan said. "It won the game for us and helped us become very patient on offense. We were in no hurry and we waited for the open shot and found the basket with a lot more efficiency."

Justin Law led the Patriots with 13 points while Clint Wallace was the only other PLAS player hitting for double figures. Wallace didn’t score in the second half, but Ryan said he played his best overall game grabbing nine boards, four steals and four blocked shots.

B.J. Powell had seven while controlling the flow of the game from the point position and Nick Paul gathered up eight.

PLAS will play its next game in the Bullock New Year’s tournament Friday. The girls’ and boys’ teams will both play Lakeside in the opening round with the Lady Patriots tipping off at 3 p.m. and the Patriots following at 4:30.