Patriots ready to take next step with experience

Published 3:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

sumbitted Photo With four starters returning, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots begin season with eyes on taking the next step as a program.

sumbitted Photo
With four starters returning, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots begin season with eyes on taking the next step as a program.

The Pike Liberal Arts School Lady Patriots are three games into what head coach Robert Hawkins calls a make or break season.

With a season opening 51-42 win over Northside followed by a couple losses to a tough Lee Scott and Springwood, the Patriots are ready to rebound and have a very successful 2015-16 season.

“I am excited about this team,” Hawkins said. “I love the effort they put into it. They are a great group of girls that really want to learn and play hard.

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The first three games of the season for the Patriots is nothing to sneeze at. Between the three teams they have combined to lose one game so far this season, and that was the Patriots win over Northside.

With the Patriots starting the season at 1-2, the important part of the season for the Patriots starts today when they make the trip to battle Hooper.

“They are a division 3A school,” Hawkins said. “They are on the other side of our region. It’s not a region game, but it’s somebody that, if we make the playoffs, we could play. I’m excited to see where we are. We have the talent; it’s about meshing it all together.”

The Eagles don’t have a true scorer this year, so they will have to depend on a brand of basketball that relies on a team effort and one that blends together the different skills of each player. One way they plan on doing that is with some pressure and fundamental basketball.

“This team is going to have to be a full-court team, not a half-court team,” Hawkins said. “We are going to have to push the ball and have to hit the outside shots. It’s going to be a team that is going to fight for every rebound. That’s a critical part of the game. Whoever wins the rebounding battle usually wins the game.”

One thing that may be beneficial for the Patriots this season is the fact that they have four starters returning. Lauren Johnson, who averaged nearly 20 points per game a year ago, Susie Stell, Danielle Johnson and Mya Terry will all be looked at to carry over the momentum gained from going 10-2 to close out the year. Transfer Regine Parker, who transferred in from Catholic High School after last season, will join the Patriots.

“She is a really good ball player,” Hawkins said. “The other players are going to have to know what her tendencies and strengths are and play toward that. I am excited about my starters and for the people I am bringing in, too.”

The Patriots are ready to make noise with in the Class 3A Region 2 standings this year. To do that they are going to have to get past some quality basketball teams.

“Fort Dale would probably be considered the favorite,” Hawkins said. “That’s the team we are going to have to beat to win the region. They are always a well-coached team. We finished second behind them last year.”

In end the Patriots want to improve and take the next step as a team.

The Patriots faces off with with Hooper tonight at 5:30.