Patriots confident heading into showdown with Northside

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Pike Patriots enter tonight’s game against Northside playing with confidence and energy.

The Patriots defeated Emmanuel Christian 64-32 on Tuesday night and did so by playing a well rounded basketball game.

“Last night (Tuesday) was one of those games where everyone got to play,” said Patriots head coach Allen Ponder. “We played great team basketball and we were able to knock down some shots. We shot the ball well, but more than anything we communicated well on defense.

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“Every aspect of the game that we needed to improve on we did last night as we move into our region schedule.”

Although the Patriots are 1-1 in their last two games, they have put up a total of 144 points and have played their best stretch of basketball this season.

“Scoring a lot of points for us is a big thing,” Ponder said, “Early on in the season we didn’t shoot the ball very well. At the same time, we didn’t do a good job at keeping other teams from scoring. On Tuesday we put up a lot of points and played good defense also. We understand that we are going to have to shoot the ball well.”

One player that has shot the ball lately has been Reed Jinright. Over the last two games, Jinright has scored a combined 38 points including 21 points in Tuesday’s win over Emmanuel Christian.

“Reed has done a good job for us all year,” Ponder said. “ We knew that he would. If you watch him play, you wouldn’t think he was a great basketball player and he understands he is not a great basketball player. He understands what he has to do to become successful and he works all the time. He has done a very good job for us this year.”

Tonight’s game against Northside will be a rematch of Thursday’s contest in which the Patriots fell 80-77. According to Ponder there will be no secrets between the two teams.

“We understand each other,” Ponder said. “They know what they are going to do and they know what we are going to do. It just comes down to executing. We need to be able to stop them and be able to score on the offensive end. I feel like after Tuesday we have a lot of confidence and we are excited about the challenge.”

A win for the Patriots would even their region mark at 1-1 and would give the Patriots confidence moving forward.

“The game is going to be big,” Ponder said. “It’s an area game and we need to win these games. Northside is a good team and very athletic. Our guys have great practices and we feel like we are prepared for the challenge.”

Tip-off between Northside and Pike is scheduled for 7 p.m.