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Patriots advance to finals

The Pike Patriots advanced to the Region 2 championship with a 54-50 win over Morgan Academy on Friday.

The Patriots will play for the region championship today at 5:30 p.m.

“It feels really good,” said Patriots head coach Allen Ponder. “We came here to have a good showing and we have won two game in a row here. We are very fortunate to move on.”

After a lack of effort in game one, the Patriots played a more complete game against Morgan, Ponder said.

“Our energy was much better,” Ponder said. “We came out with a lot of energy. We jumped on them earlier than we did last night. That was our main port of emphasis, so for us to come out and do that was big for us.”

Both teams scored early in the first quarter. Hunter Jones connected on three, three pointers and the Patriots took a one point lead into the second quarter at 18-17.

The Patriots gained more separation in the second quarter when they put up 17 points that included six by Randon Rigby.

“We stayed consistent the whole time,” Ponder said. “There were times I thought we could have pulled away, but we did a good job from keeping them from going on any runs.”

The defense woke up in the third quarter, both teams combined to score just nine points and the Patriots went into the fourth leading 39-31.

The Patriots defense scored 17 points in the third quarter, including eight points by Rigby.

Jones and Rigby led the Patriots with 17 points a piece, while Reed Jinright finished with 13.

The Patriots hope to carry over their energy into the championship game this afternoon.

“We want to be able to give the same kind of effort,” Ponder said. “We want to give a full game effort no matter what. That has to be our motto from here on out.”

The Lady Patriots fell to rival Fort Dale 41-28 in their regional semifinal game on Friday evening.

The Patriots led after the first quarter 9-8, but lost the lead in the second quarter and went into halftime 22-13. The deficit stretched to 10 at the end of the third 29-19 before pulling away in the fourth quarter.

Lauren Johnson led the way with 11 points, while Mya Terry had nine.

The Lady Patriots will play Northside Methodist in the consolation game on Saturday at 1 p.m.