Pike Liberal Arts gets back to basics in prep for area tournament

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pike Liberal Arts head coach Craig Kennedy has seen both the varsity girls and varsity boys teams improve greatly over the last few weeks. Both teams are playing more intensity and motivation recently said Kennedy.

The regular season is in the books, and now the Patriots are met with the realization that every time they take the floor may be the final time. Pike will take part in the area tournament, and a good finish in it can propel them to the next level.

“At this time of the season, it’s not always the best team that wins the game,” said Kennedy. “If we can play our way, with our tempo, and put pressure on the other team, we can make some noise.”

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The girls team has seen resurgence in recent weeks, and is showing a tenacity that was missing early in the season.

Led by guard Katie Ward, the Patriots are pushing the pace of the game higher and faster, something that Kennedy loves to see.

“I love the speed we have been playing at,” said Kennedy. “We have created lots of good, open shots for ourselves and just have not hit them. We are pushing it and making the right decisions, and soon things will work out.”

The boys team lacks a true post player, and finds themself turning to the outside shot on a regular basis. Perimeter shooters Rush Hixon and Marquese Christian can hit shots from nearly anywhere on the floor, while team-leader Chandler Avant can create havoc driving to the basket.

Kennedy was also impressed with the improvement of forward Brian Adams.

“Brian has been really good for us lately,” said Kennedy. “He has been stepping out more, and using his shot. Then Chandler will drive it to the hoop, and he is hard to beat when he gets rolling.”

Down the stretch, Kennedy has stressed for the team to have a golfer’s mentality. He wants the teams to live shot by shot, and not let a missed opportunity lead to another.

“Once the shot is up only two things can happen,” said Kennedy. “It doesn’t matter what happens, that shot is done, and we have to keep playing. We have told them that all year. Every drill we do, if they miss they must put the ball back in. If you can do that, you will have a 50 percent shooting night, and that is pretty dog gone good in current basketball.”

Kennedy also stressed that basketball is a game of runs, and the Patriots must be able to respond to an opponent’s run, in order to keep the game within reach.

The Patriot girls play at 5:30 p.m. against Lee-Scott Academy, while the boys will also play Lee-Scott at 7 p.m. Both games will take place at Huntingdon College.