INCONSISTENT: With plenty of highs and low’s, the Patriots try to find identity as area play heats up
Published 3:30 am Saturday, December 26, 2015
The Pike Liberal Arts boys are still struggling with their identity as they head into region play.
“We are in search of our identity,” said Patriots head coach Alan Ponder. “We started off a little slow to start the year. We have gotten better. Our kids have bought into the system, and we see that we have to be an up-tempo, high intensity team to win.”
Like many teams, the 6-5 Patriots lack the consistency in effort that their coach hopes to see.
“We have been very inconsistent,” Ponder said. “When we play really well things are great. When we don’t things fall apart. We need to get over that hump and be a kind of team that preserves when things don’t go our way.”
The Patriots have done a lot of good things in the first half of the season, despite their record. Outside shooting and good defense have both been strengths. But it’s the players’ effort that has impressed the coach the most.
“The biggest thing for me is that I wanted to see consistent effort,” Ponder said. “We started the season not doing that. As of late, we are starting to work harder. Playing with effort can overcome a lot of other things.”
Ponder believes playing with effort will lead to the Patriots being able to pull out more close games when they matter down the stretch.
Two players the Patriots will be looking to carry the torch into area play are Hunter Jones and Marquese Christian, who was named to the All-Tournament team at the Abbeville Christian Academy tournament last week.
“In order for us to be successful we need those two guys to be successful,” Ponder said. “You have to be build a team chemistry and those two have played really well together. They feed off each other. Marquese, when he is covered does a great job in finding Hunter. They find a way to get everybody involved.”
Ponder said the players’ comfort levels have improved, and that familiarity will help with the upcoming schedule.
“We all know each other really well, Ponder said. “There aren’t many mysteries when it comes to area play. For us, it’s just going to come down to playing hard and executing. I believe whatever team executes the best is going to have the best opportunity to win.”
The Patriots will travel to Greenville Jan. 5 to face Fort Dale Academy.