Home streak, pride on line for Patriots

Published 9:30 pm Monday, January 16, 2012

After falling to Fort Dale on the road 51-21 on Jan. 5, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots basketball team has not only a chance to extend their home winning streak to three, but to dish out a little revenge in the process.

In their last meeting, the Patriots hit a bit of a wall in the second half, going from trailing a manageable 23-13 to a blowout loss that included a run of 14 unanswered Ft. Dale points in the third period.

“We went in there and let them get to us,” Patriots head coach Bob Pickett said. “They got the best of our youth and we weren’t prepared. But I’m looking at us to play hard this time, it’s a rivalry game and we’re going to be ready.”

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One of the Patriots biggest stumbles in the matchup was the inability to get scoring from their big starters.

Chandler Avant and Tanner Free were only able to manage six points apiece, and scoring for the team was led by bench man Rush Hixon with seven.

But that was then, and in their last home matchup against Kingwood Christian, which the Patriots won 72-64, Avant brought in a solid 29 points and Free dropped in 11 of his own.

Hixon was an ace on the three point shot, sinking two in the first half.

It’s not difficult to see that this is a whole new Patriot team waiting for Ft. Dale to venture into Troy, Alabama.

In fact, one of the few rough spots in the Patriot game plan, and what could decide the win, are their ability to make free throw shots.

In the game against Kingwood, the fourth period turned into a back and forth of foul shots that not only slowed play down to a crawl, but played a hand in letting Kingwood come back from what was a 17 point deficit early in the period.

The last 11 points that the Patriots scored, which helped keep them just ahead of the Kingwood attack, were earned off of free shots.

“The fouls were about equal on both sides but it came down to us not making all of our free throws and letting them get close,” Pickett said. “They never should have caught back up to us so we’ve got to make our free throws when the situation arises.”

Though the boy’s have a few rough spots to iron out, the girl’s team has been on a roll as of late, winning all three of last week’s games and rolling over their last two opponents Monroe Academy and Kingwood.

The girls left Monroe in the dust on Jan. 13, taking a 60-28 win and were just as potent against Kingwood, where they took a 40-23 victory.

Both teams have been dominant in their last couple of home games and look to be primed for a rematch with Ft. Dale.

Tip –off is set for Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m.