Patriots find way to win,

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 4, 2000

survive to fight another day


Sports Editor

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The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots might be licking wounds, but that only means their season is still alive.

After beating Hooper handily three times over the year, the PLAS boys faced them for the fourth time and had trouble in a 54-50 win in the 3A East Area 1 Region Tournament.

"We just came out sluggish, it wasn’t one of our best performances," PLAS head coach Jim Ryan said. "We might have taken them for granted, but whatever the case, if we play like this against Lee-Scott, it won’t be pretty."

The win has propelled the Patriots into the second round, but now they face No. 1 seeded Lee-Scott at 4:30 p.m. today. They must get to the finals and win the championship to move on to the AISA State Playoffs.

Pike Liberal fell behind early, but were able to fight back to a 23-19 lead at the half. They controlled only a three-point lead at the end of three, but the Patriots were able to overcome an ankle sprain to Nick Paul (who was cleared to play just before the game) and also the club’s poor shooting.

They hit only 2-of-12 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half allowing Hooper to stay in the ball game.

"We live and die by that 3-point shot and it just wasn’t going in for us," Ryan said. "We were hampered inside as well with Nick’s injury. We were lucky to get some good minutes out of Layton Sanders and Jeremy Henderson down the stretch."

B.J. Powell was the lifeline for the Patriots with a game-high 25 points while Clint Wallace finished with 10.

The Pike Liberal girls’ varsity team will also get a chance to extend its season today in the early game of the tournament.

The Lady Patriots will match up with Macon-East at 3 p.m. in Phenix City. PLAS has lost both of it’s matchups with Macon-East this year.

"This is a great chance for us to shock some people and go to state," Ryan said. "We will have to play our best game against a very tough opponent."

The winner will play the winner of the Glenwood Hooper matchup in the championship.