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Lady Patriots get off to hot start in tournament

The Pike Lady Patriots began the 2017 Class 3A Region 2 Tournament with a dominating 65-34 win over Morgan Academy on Thursday morning.

The win for the Patriots guarantees them a spot in next week’s Elite Eight Tournament in Montgomery.

“We are excited to win that first game,” said Patriots head coach Robert Hawkins. “Now its on to state. Now it’s a matter of where we are seeded, but of course we want to win the tournament. We are excited about the opportunity to play tomorrow.”

Lauren Johnson led the Patriots with 35 points and made 16 of her 20 shots and she finished off her double-double effort with 12 rebounds. Johnson scored 14 of her points in the opening quarter. Morgan had no answers for the senior playmaker.

“Lauren has been Lauren for the last three years,” Hawkins said. “Her biggest enemy is getting too uptight about the game. When she makes good decisions the whole team benefits from it.”

Fellow scorers Mya Terry and Susie Stell finished with 16 and seven points respectively. Terry also finished with a double-double with 12 rebounds.

The Patriots didn’t waste anytime on Thursday morning. They raced out to an early lead and entered the second quarter holding a commanding 23-8 lead.

That lead increased in the second quarter, when the Patriots defense held the Senators to just five points while they put up 20 and went into the locker room at halftime holding a 43-13 lead.

The second half was all about securing the win, while at the same time being able to play some of their reserves.

“We jumped on them and I decided, since it was a playoff game, to hold down the throttle,” Hawkins said. “I substituted a little bit; we wanted to make sure we not only won, but have the momentum heading into tomorrow night.”

The win sets the Patriots up for a showdown with host and rival Fort Dale this evening beginning at 6 p.m.