Old friends reunite at Pike Lib

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 15, 2002

Sports Editor

Prior to the start of the school year, Beth Anderson made a call to a friend.

Two year’s ago Anderson and Lindy Lunkenheimer both played basketball together at the now-closed Bullock Memorial Academy. Lunkenheimer spent last season at Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery, while Anderson spent a year away from AISA basketball.

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"We played together in the tenth grade," said Anderson, PLAS’s senior forward. "Two weeks before school started, she didn’t know where she was going to school, so I told her if she came here we’d have a chance to be really good."

How good no one could imagine.

Anderson came to Pike Lib in the fall of 2000, hoping to join the girl’s basketball team which was now coached by Robert Hawkins. But the AISA dashed Anderson’s hopes before the season even started.

"We called the AISA and then we had a trial to see if I could play," she recalled. "When they didn’t let me, it made a lot of people mad."

Anderson made the best of the situation and spent as much time with the team as she could, keeping statistics and offering her support from the bench. For someone who’s played competitive varsity basketball since the seventh grade, Anderson admits it was a difficult to sit there and watch the Lady Patriots stumble to a 4-14 record in 2002, knowing she could be out on the court helping.

Anderson went to work during the summer and played AAU ball with a girls team out of Montgomery. The team traveled across the south and even managed to capture a first place finish in a tournament held in New Orleans.

"I played with girls from Jeff Davis, Carver, Booker T. (Washington)," Anderson said. "It was the first time I had ever played with girls from public school and they were real nice. They helped me tremendously."

Anderson took that work ethic back to Troy and took an active effort in getting the Lady Patriots’ up to the gym in order to prepare for the upcoming season.

"We’ve been practicing since the beginning of the summer, just working on fundamentals" she said.

The hard work payed off. Sophomore Karli Tribe’s development at the two-guard spot, allowed Hawkins to move Anderson to small forward. The frontcourt was set with both sophomore Brantley Kries and junior Rae Pinckard returning. Senior Danielle Johnson would also provide quality playing time off the bench.

The final piece of the puzzle came when Lunkenheimer joined the team just before the start of the school year.

"My parents said it was my choice where I wanted to go to school, because I live in the middle of both (Jeff Davis and PLAS)," said Lunkenheimer, who lives in Fitzpatrick in Bullock County. "I came here the day before school started and we played some pick-up games. Then I came here on the first day of school and I enrolled right then."

Since she did, Lunkenheimer also got to see one of her oldest friends crowned homecoming queen.

Anderson took that honor during Pike Lib’s 2001 homecoming.

"I was shocked," Anderson said. "It was very unexpected. They called three girls out, who I expected to win it, and then they called my name out for homecoming queen and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’"

Lunkenheimer, whose last name is Germanic, said it took awhile before her schoolmates and teachers pronounced her name right.

"Nobody says it right the first time," she said.

However, once basketball season began, it didn’t take people too long figure out the correct pronunciation. In the third game of the year, Lunkenheimer, playing point, dropped 16 points in a win over Fort Dale and has averaged double-digit scoring throughout the season.

The Lady Patriots finished with a 20-5 record and ranked seventh in the state. They captured both the area regular season and tournament championship and now head to Huntingdon College today for the Class AAA Final Four.

"I think we’re ready," said Lunkenheimer. "Everybody knows we can win."