Exciting basketball action starts today

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 15, 2002

Sports Writer

It’s an exciting time for basketball in the old T-Town!

Of course, today in Montgomery, the Pike Liberal Arts School boys and girls teams battle Tuscaloosa Academy in the Final Four of the Alabama Independent School Association.

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The boys play first at 12:30 p.m. and the girls immediately following that game at 2 p.m. in the Delchamps Arena at Huntingdon College.

It’s the first time ever that Pike’s girls or boys have made it so far in the AISA tournament. Kudos go out to Paul Kirchharr and Dr. Robert Hawkins for excellent jobs of coaching these teams.

The boys, led by seniors Michael DiChiara, Druid Conrad, Jared Waldrop and Layton Sanders are currently 13-13 and have gelled at the right time, winning their last four ball games. The Patriots defeated Morgan, coached by former John Archer and Troy State player Mike Sexton, 49-45, in overtime last Friday at Faulkner University to earn their way to the Final Four at Huntingdon. This team is playing good basketball so don’t be surprised if they play for it all on Saturday afternoon in Montgomery.

The girls, on the other hand are 22-5 for the year and will present a big challenge to Tuscaloosa. Led by senior guards Beth Anderson and Lindy Lunkenheimer, this team has a very legitimate chance at the AAA championship. "Both girls have the tournament experience to lead this team," Hawkins said while being interviewed Tuesday on Today in L.A. "I expect them to play well and give steady support to our younger players. We’ve got a good rebounding team that has good height with Brantley Kries and Rae Pinckard, so hopefully we can hold them to fewer shots then they’ve been getting against other teams. We’ve got good guard play with Lindy, Beth and Karli (Tribe)."

Tuscaloosa has won more boys and girls titles in basketball then any school in AISA history and this year’s teams have the same quality players.

In college basketball, our team, the Troy State Trojans, have a key game this Saturday against the Georgia State Panthers.

The Trojans, first place in the A-Sun, will be tested to the fullest by GSU, who defeated them by 14 points in Atlanta back in January.

It was Georgia State who knocked the Trojans off in the championship game of the then-TAAC last season in March.

This year, at the A-Sun basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., it could be the same two teams playing for an NCAA tournament berth. Saturday’s game could give us a good look at what it will take to win that conference tournament and earn a spot in the "Big Dance," the NCAA’s 64 team tournament.

They call in "March Madness!" Saturday’s game should be a good one to watch. See ya there!