Patriots escape with win

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Coach Robert Hawkins has preached patience to the Lady Patriots all season, and that’s just what they used in a 39-35 win over Fort Dale on Tuesday.

The last time the Eagles and the Patriots matched up, the Lady Patriots won the first three quarters before falling in the fourth and losing 45-40. On Tuesday night the Patriots exorcised some demons and escaped with the win.

“I thought we were going to blow another one,” Hawkins said. “We were down, but we played good going into the half and we picked it up in the second half. I was really proud with how they played.”

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Both teams combined to score just 15 points in the opening quarter with the Eagles leading 9-6. In the second quarter Lauren Johnson and Regine Parker got the Lady Patriots back on track. Johnson scored four points to bring the Patriots to within three.

Parker’s ability to slash through the land gave the Eagles trouble, and after five straight points by Johnson the Patriots seized the lead at 18-13.

The Eagles jumped out to their second 5-0 run of the game to start the third quarter and battled back to tie the game at 18.

Parker ended the run with a short floater to regain the lead for the Patriots.

The Patriots struggled with turnovers and because of that couldn’t mount a consistent offensive threat.

“The type of defense they play, it’s really hard to get good-looking shots,” Hawkins said. “We were trying to force the ball inside. That’s when you have turnovers.”

The Eagles took a 26-22 lead into the final quarter and pushed the lead to seven before Johnson scored again. With the Eagles up 31-26, Parker drained a three-pointer from the corner. Johnson connected on a jump shot to tie the game with just under 3:30 left.

Johnson scored the next four points and gave the Patriots a 35-31 lead with just two minutes remaining. Turnovers allowed the Eagles to tie the score.

With just 32 seconds remaining, Johnson was fouled. Two shots later, Pike Lib had the lead and the win.

“She is the best free throw shooter in the state,” Hawkins said. “She was clutch there in the end.

Johnson led the Patriots with 21 points on the night while Parker finished with 11.

The Patriots will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to take on Escambia.Tip off is scheduld for approximately 6 p.m. after the conclusion of JV