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Patriotic milestone

Douglas Hawkins has already won a state championship as a member of the Pike Liberal Arts football team, but now Hawkins can add another milestone to his career as a Patriot.

Hawkins recorded his 1,000th point as a member of the Pike Liberal boys’ basketball team earlier this season and he was honored during Tuesday’s victory over rival Fort Dale Academy.

“It has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of help from my teammates,” Hawkins said. “And I would have to give most of the credit to my dad for pushing me really hard my whole life. He pushed me to a certain point and then I knew it was my turn to get to the gym and shoot on my own.”

For most of his career at Pike Liberal, Hawkins could be found in the gym shooting. It did not matter whether it was basketball season or not, and Hawkins said that is why he was able to reach 1,000.

“I haven’t done it as much recently, but I used to shoot every day, all day, year-round,” Hawkins said. “I just love the game of basketball. I thought when we were in football that football was my favorite sport, but now that it is basketball time, when we are winning basketball is definitely my favorite sport.”

Another member of the PLAS 1,000 point club, Brandon Hooks, was Hawkins’ inspiration to achieve greatness. Hooks, who was a senior Patriot when Hawkins was in the seventh grade, finished his career with around 1,400 points. Without hesitation Hawkins pinned Hooks as his basketball idol during his time at PLAS.

“We were close and we are close now,” Hawkins said. “We used to play and hang out all the time even with the age difference.”

The connection was made almost immediately when Hooks came over from Goshen his freshman year.

“He was always in the gym and my dad coached the girls’ team then so I would always be in the gym too,” Hawkins said. “We just got close like that and then he would come over and have dinner with us. And now he is in college at Troy and he is about to graduate.”

Hawkins is one of the leaders on the Pike Liberal team and he said his No. 1 goal is to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

“We have made the playoffs in football, we made it in baseball, but I really want to make it in basketball this year,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said the confidence that came with the football state championship victory might carry over onto the basketball court.

“I think the confidence from winning is a big factor,” he said. “We started off slow this year, but once we started playing well that same vibe from the football season was there. We built confidence during football season and we realized that once you build confidence you could really play well. And plus we know how to win now.”

The Patriots record stands at 8-9 and 3-6 in area play, but Hawkins said the team is winning the close games now that they were losing at the beginning of the year and that is always a good thing to do when the season nears playoff time.