Pike Liberal Arts off to fast start thanks in large part to ‘bigs”

Published 11:56 pm Monday, December 3, 2012

Pike Liberal Arts Carrley Barron runs through drills at practice. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

The Pike Liberal Arts boys and girls basketball teams are off to a hot start with the teams combining to win 11 games early on in the season.

Both Patriot squads have received good effort and play from their respective low post players, Russ Thomas for the boys and Carrley Barron and Kori Chirico for the girls.

Thomas is a rebounding machine, grabbing board and slamming bodies down low for the 5-3 Pike Liberal boys team.

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Head Coach Craig Kennedy says that Thomas brings a lot to the table for a guy his size.

“Russ is able to get up and grab some rebounds,” said Kennedy. “He is surprisingly quick for a guy his size and can beat other big guys down the floor. He is just a really good athlete.”

The girls team is led by Chirico and Barron, who are threats not only on defense, but offense as well.

“We are able to use our girls to put the ball of the glass and get some buckets,” said Kennedy. “If we consistently get lay ups and short jumpers from the post, we will be pretty good.”

Kennedy said that because Pike Liberal’s low post players are smaller than many of the other team’s forwards and centers, they have to out work and out hustle people.

“Defense is all about who wants to work harder,” said Kennedy. “We want to play well of defense, and we will, but I know that all that counts is who has the most lights on the board at the end of the game.”

Kennedy said he had to change the thought process of his “bigs” and flip old habits.

The first-year coach wants his low post players to get down the floor, and set up for easier baskets.

“We want our post players to be ahead of the ball on offense and defense,” said Kennedy. “We have to get the though of ‘Well, I’m a big, slow post player.’ We want our players to win by outhustling other teams.”

Both teams, girls and boys, will be in action on the road at Abbeville Christian Academy on Tuesday.