Patriots handle Northside

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 22, 2016

The Pike Liberal Arts School’s girl’s basketball team picked up another win on the road as it took down Northside Methodist 59-38 on Thursday.

The victory comes just a day before a crucial region game for the Patriots (13-5, 4-1), who are one win away from clinching a region championship.

“We did a really good job defensively tonight, limiting them to just one shot for most of their possessions,” head coach Robert Hawkins said after the game. “I really think that we’re in a good place. We knew it was going to be a physical game, and they were ready.”

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The Knights had no answer for a balanced and well-executed offensive attack from Pike Lib, who used good ball movement to create open looks all night.

Pike Lib jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead in the first half and never looked back, led mainly by junior guard Suzie Stell and senior guard Regine Parker, who had 11 and 21 points, respectively. Both guards got things rolling for the visitors in the early going, hitting multiple shots from beyond the arc to generate the early lead.

Regine also hauled in eight rebounds, a key goal that the Patriots wanted to achieve on the road.

“We don’t have a whole lot of size on our roster,” Hawkins said. “Defensive rebounding was one of the things that I really stressed to our girls before the game. We wanted to give them as few opportunities to score as possible and they did a really good job of that tonight.”

Northside Methodist was able to make the adjustment on defense, however, and started to lock down on the Patriots’ shooters, but were eventually broken down by junior forward Lauren Johnson, who had a solid showing down low for Pike Lib. The Patriots guards were able to find Johnson open in the paint on multiple occasions, allowing her to rack up 20 points and help lift her team to a comfortable victory.

After generating a solid double-digit lead in the second half, Hawkins was able to bench his starters and give his bench players good minutes, allowing for his team to be rested for its big game at home on Friday.

“I think this win really puts our confidence in a really good place,” Hawkins said. “We took care of business, which is what you need to do at this point in the season.”

The Patriots will return to the hardwood on Friday when they take on Escambia at home. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.