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Piloting the Pats

Josie Griffin is not a vocal leader, but she has been a big reason the Pike Liberal Lady Patriots enter the AISA Class 3A, Region 1 tournament as the No. 2 seed Thursday.

Griffin is a junior point guard for the Lady Patriots who helped right a sinking ship as 2008 rolled into 2009.

“We talked early in the year when we had that 2-7 stretch that we needed someone to step up and be a leader,” PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease said. “I told them we didn’t need a vocal leader, but someone who leads by example and gets after it. Josie took that and ran with it. We have others that get after it, but she will give her body up for the team.”

Kilcrease said having such a hard-working player at the point is great.

“Out on the court she is going to give you everything she’s got,” Kilcrease said. “And that is what I love about Josie.”

Griffin does not see herself as the leader of the Lady Patriots, but she always tries to do her best because she does not want to let her teammates, who she says are like her sisters, down.

“I think we may get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but we know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are,” Griffin said. “At practice if I am guarding someone and I know they are not good at something I will push that person harder because I want them to be better. I love all those girls and I want them to all be better, so I try and push them to get them there.”

Kilcrease said Griffin does not let anything stand in her way on the court.

“She may not be as athletic as some players we face, but she will dive on the floor and go get the ball and that is just who she is,” he said. “She is a go getter. And she is not afraid to pull the trigger, which is something we need. She creates things for other people off the dribble.”

He also said she is somewhat of a gym rat.

“She will call on the weekends to come up here and shoot,” Kilcrease said. “She pushes herself and she is hard on herself. She is self-motivated and you don’t have to do a lot to get her going.”

Griffin does not restrict her time to basketball, as she also plays on the Pike Liberal volleyball and softball teams, but she said basketball is the sport she knows the most about.

“I play every sport I can, but basketball is my favorite and I just have a passion for the sport,” Griffin said. “I just love it and it just comes more naturally to me.”

Basketball comes naturally to Griffin and according to her head coach, leading by example also comes naturally to the junior Lady Patriot.