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No sweat

Pike boys swamp Chiefs, tenth-ranked Lady Patriots edge No. 2 Lakeside

By KEVIN PEARCEY

Sports Editor

Tied at 48-48 with 17 seconds left to play in Tuesday night’s match-up between tenth-ranked Pike Liberal Arts School and No. 2 Lakeside, Lady Patriots’ head coach Robert Hawkins looked to his guards to pull out the win.

And when senior Beth Anderson drove inside for a basket, the second-year head coach knew he had what he wanted.

"I wanted either Beth or Lindy (Lunkenheimer) to take the shot," Hawkins said. "I wanted Beth to drive inside and hopefully draw the foul or dish it off to Lindy."

Anderson took the ball into the lane and lofted up a short jumper against three Lakeside defenders. The ball bounced off the rim and overtime seemed a certainty.

But forward Brantley Kries was there to collect the loose ball beneath the basket and put it back up for the game winner with two seconds left, giving PLAS its first win over Lakeside this season, 50-48.

The victory, coupled with Tuesday night’s 46-35 win over Macon-East, improved the Lady Patriots to 15-4 on the year.

The Lady Chiefs are now 19-2.

"They’d (Lakeside) been hitting some shots like that on us all night," said Hawkins about Kries’s game winner. "They’d grab the rebound and put it back up for a score. But we got the last one. Brantley was in the right place at the right time."

No doubt.

It was only Kries’s second basket of the game.

Lakeside led by seven points in the third quarter, 37-30, before Pike made a run to get back in the ball game. Rae Pinckard scored on a wrap-around assist from Anderson and Karli Tribe took a steal the distance for two points. Lunkenheimer hit a 2-pointer at the end of the third, pulling the Lady Patriots close at 39-36. She opened the fourth by nailing a shot from behind the arc to tie the game at 39-39 with 5:44 left in regulation.

Lunkenheimer, who had a team-high 16 points, then gave the Lady Patriots a brief lead by turning another Tribe steal into two points. Whitney Fort responded on the other end for Lakeside with a 3-pointer, but Anderson converted a 3-point play on Pike’s next trip down the floor.

Tribe and Anderson combined to score four straight points to give Pike Lib a 48-46 lead.

Fran Balkcom, Lakeside’s inside scorer, finished the game with 23 points, but was harassed most of the second half by Tribe and totalled just eight points in the final two quarters, two of those from the foul line.

"Karli did a great job on her," said Hawkins. Anderson had been charged with guarding Balkcom in he first half. "She’s (Tribe) a little bit quicker then Beth. You have to deny her (Balkcom) the ball, because if she gets it she’ll score."

Balkcom proved that with under a minute to play when she drove the length of the court and pulled up against two PLAS defenders to tie the game with 35 seconds left.

Anderson added nine points, while Tribe had eight.

In the boy’s game, Patriots’ guard Michael DiChiara dropped in 20 points as PLAS rid themselves of Lakeside early and won going away, 62-40.

"We needed to get some productivity out of Michael and we did tonight," said Patriots’ head coach Paul Kirchharr. "Hopefully, it will keep his confidence level up because we really need him to play well tomorrow night also."

PLAS (10-9) travels to play area foe Lee-Scott on Friday.

Pike Lib led 33-19 at halftime. After spotting Lakeside an early 7-2 lead, the Patriots stormed back, outscoring the Chiefs, 13-4, in the final few minutes of the first quarter.

Lakeside made a run to open the third quarter, but DiChiara had the answer for Pike. Lakeside closed to within seven of the lead, 39-32, but the senior point guard outscored the Chiefs 8-1 before the quarter came to a close.

Jared Waldrop had 10 also for PLAS.