Down and out: Patriots fall to Lee-Scott to end season

Published 3:00 am Friday, February 3, 2017

The Pike Patriots season came to a close on Thursday afternoon when they fell to Lee-Scott 58-45 in the AISA Elite Eight at the Crampton Bowl in Montgomery.

The Patriots entered the tournament as a two seed after coming in second place in the regional tournament. The loss to Lee-Scott ended their chances of a deep playoff run in Montgomery.

“We played hard,” said Patriots head coach Allen Ponder. “I was proud of our effort. We played a really good first half and they extended a little bit in the third quarter. We did a good job coming back, but William (Johnson) does a good job at Lee-Scott and in the fourth quarter they did a good job at stalling the basketball.”

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The Patriots had seven players crack the scoreboard, including two that finished in double figures. Hunter Jones led the Patriots with 16 points, while Reed Jinright had 13.

The Patriots came out in the first half and led the Warriors 13-11 at the end of the opening quarter. Williams scored 11 of his 16 points in the opening half and the Patriots hung with the Warriors, trailing 29-25 at the half.

“In the first half, Hunter shot the ball really well,” Ponder said. “We attacked the middle of the floor when it was open and we did a good job of finishing.”

In the second half, the Warriors flipped the script. The Warriors found a way to control Jones and held the senior to six second-half points.

“They did a better job of taking Hunter out of the game,” Ponder said. “He still hit some shots, but the biggest thing was when we would take it to the middle of the floor and to the rim we didn’t finish.

“When we missed a shot, they would go down and hit a shot. That proved to be the difference in the second half.”

The Patriots entered the game playing perhaps their best basketball team. On Thursday, they just ran into a better team.

“We have been playing really well, but that’s the team that has played pretty consistent all year,” Ponder said. “While we are playing our best basketball, we are still up and down. You have to be a consistent basketball team to have a chance to win.”

The Patriots ended the season with a 10-12 record, but according to Ponder the future looks bright.

“I think they are tired of losing when they come up to the Elite Eight,” Ponder said. “They are ready to get over the hump and get to the Final Four. We are excited about the potential that we have coming back next year.”