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PLAS honors teams at spring banquet

The members of 11 athletic teams were honored Saturday at Pike liberal Arts School’s Spring Sports Banquet, and among those 11 teams were four AISA state quarterfinalists, a state semifinalists, two state runners-up, a state championship team, and one individual state champion.

The banquet was highlighted by the presentation of the state championship rings to the varsity girls basketball team.

Head coach and athletic director Steven Kilcrease said the Patriots made it a goal coming into the season to take home the title.

“When we only lost one senior and I knew we had all our starters coming back, it became our goal to win the state championship,” Kilcrease said.

The state championship represented a culmination of hard work from both players and coaches alike, a culmination Kilcrease was told would never happen by one of his rival coaches.

“When I was hired and still traveling back and forth from Auburn to Troy, I went to a baseball game at Glenwood, and their coach told me these girls could never win, so it was only fitting we beat that group to win the state title,” Kilcrease said.

Kilcrease also took the opportunity to thank the students and fans of PLAS once more for their enthusiasm during the Patriots’ title run.

“I just want to thank the student body because the support we had in the region tournament and in the state tournament in Montgomery was tremendous,” Kilcrease said. “It made it fun for the players and the coaches.”

The girls’ state title was also key in helping PLAS bring hoe another honor, the AISA Chairman’s Award, given to the top AISA athletic program in the state.

While results have not been officially announced, Kilcrease said the point totals show the Patriots will win the award after chasing perennial award winner Lee-Scott for several years.

“To win this award just says so much about our athletes, and the job they’ve done representing this school,” Kilcrease said.

Senior athletes Rebecca Farrar and Justin McLaughlin also received special awards for being named to three different AIISA all-star teams.

Farrar was an all-star in cheerleading, basketball and softball, while McLaughlin was an all-star in football, basketball and baseball.

Both the golf team and the baseball team finished as AISA runners-up this past season, and both were honored Saturday.

Head baseball coach Butch Austin said even though the team did not bring home the title, a 30-5 record was plenty to be proud of.

“I think we really had a great season, and we aren’t going to let those two games in the state championship overshadow what all this group accomplished,” Austin said.

The golf team finished as runners-up, giving it a four-year stretch in which it has finished second, third, first and second in AISA.

The PLAS track team also honored Katie Ward, who brought home an individual state championship in the high jump event.

The Patriot softball team was also honored for its performance this season, which ended with the Patriots losing in the semifinals of the AISA state tournament.

“This was a great group of girls,” said head coach Mendy Avant. “We went further than I ever thought we could, and that’s because they played as hard as they could and gave everything they had.”

The varsity boys basketball team was the most notable of the four quarterfinalist teams PLAS had, and assistant coach Bob Pickett said the team showed heart, and could have possibly made it even further.

“We had a good year, and we fought hard to make it to the state tournament,” Pickett said. “I really feel like if Justin did not get an unfortunate injury, we could have kept on going.”

The other three quarterfinalists were all junior varsity teams, as the JV Patriots advanced to the state tournament in baseball, as well as both boys and girls basketball.

The JV softball team and the soccer team were both also honored, with the soccer team being present at a banquet for the first time in a few years.

“It had been a couple of years since these guys got together to make a team, and I’ very proud of them for the way they played this season,” said head coach Ken LaBrant.