• 77°

Pike Liberal boys bounce

back with win over Rebels

By STEVEN G. WATSON

Sports Writer

The number 11 is an ace in many card games and Pike Liberal’s No. 11, Clint Wallace was just that Tuesday night against Dixie ­ an ace.

In the 70-59 win, the Patriot senior set the tone of the game in the second half on both ends of the court, notching a number of key steals and seeming to score at will on Dixie’s defense.

In the later stages of the third quarter and at the start of the fourth, Wallace scored 10 of his team-high 18 points on a 10-2 run that put the game away for PLAS. After the game Pike Liberal head coach Jim Ryan talked about how important Wallace was for his team’s success.

"Clint has been our best defender for the last couple of years and we’ve got to get him around the basket," Ryan said. "Because Josh Waldrip has been hurt we’ve put Clint out there on that wing. He’s more of a four or five player, he needs to be around the basket. He’s sneaky. He’ll shoot it and next thing you know he’s right there for that offensive rebound."

Also seeing an outstanding game for the Patriots was Jeremy Henderson. The Patriot guard kept finding himself open on the outside and took advantage of the situation.

Henderson hit four 3-pointers on the night finishing second on the team with 14 points.

Early on the Patriots had to fight off a run by Dixie.

Expecting an all-out attack from the perimeter PLAS guarded the Rebel shooters and allowed their big man, Dean Foster to run rampant on the inside for a game-high 20 points.

"We were weary of their outside shooting," Ryan said. "They could bust a three from anywhere on the court. Foster probably had a career night for them. We were spreading out our defense to extend on the wings and he ate us up inside. It’s basically choose your poison.

"We never panicked and that’s a good thing," he continued. "They keep plugging away and they know if you do that good things will happen."

Pike Liberal got down as much as nine points in the first half, but outscored Dixie 14-5 in the final five minutes of the second quarter to go into the locker room tied at 33-33.

After the loss to Crenshaw Monday, Ryan was pleased to see the Patriot offense hard at work again.

"We played better offensively," Ryan said. "I was proud to see those points back up on the board. We attacked their triangle-and-two and their box-and-one very intelligently. B.J. Powell made smart decisions and got the ball to the people he needed to get the ball to.

"It’s a good win for us," he added. "We won’t see them again till Sunday and then we play Monday. Now we can leave with a good taste in our mouths."