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Patriots searching for confidence

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots are under new leadership this season. Former head coach Robert Hawkins has stepped aside and Chris Garner has taken up the mantle and hopes to lead a young team to success in 2017.

The Patriots are two games into their season and are still searching for their first win after losing to both Macon East and Evangel in the Lee-Scott basketball tournament on Monday and Tuesday in Auburn.

Despite the loss, Garner is still confident in his team’s potential.

“The outlook is still the same; I want to win games as much as anyone else,” Garner said. “It’s just building their confidence up. Losing Lauren last year, a lot of them still don’t have confidence.”

The Patriots have lost 1,000-point scorer Lauren Johnson along with scorers Danielle Brown, Susie Stell and Mya Terry. This year’s Patriots team members know everyone will have to step up to fill their void.

“The way our team is built, we are going to need everybody to play,” Garner said. “A lot of it goes back to having confidence in themselves. We have to move the ball. We can’t sit still with the ball and not move it.”

Through the first two games, Ansley Adams and Johnson’s sister Tiffany Jonson have stepped up and led the Patriots in scoring.

“They have popped out,” Garner said. “She (Ansley) has been working on her confidence and yesterday she had it and hit her shots. I think those two will be our playmakers, but I have three or four more that if they come out of their shell and play ball we are not going to have just one person. It will be a team effort. We are not going to have just one person take control of a game.”

The Patriots will have their next chance to pick up their first win on Tuesday when they host Autauga Academy. When that first win comes, Garner believes it will go a long way towards a successful season.

“I think getting the first win will help them a lot,” Garner said. “They get frustrated. The little things are getting them frustrated. They are not getting down on themselves. In the first two days, they didn’t quit on me. They are going to play to the end and never quit. That never-quit attitude is going to show up in a big way down the stretch.”

The Patriots will be joined in their area with Northside and Lakeside in 2017.

“I watched Northside this summer and they are really well coached,” Garner said. “They are a fundamentally sound team. I think they shoot the ball really well.”

The Patriots home opener against Autauga will be on Tuesday after the conclusion of the junior varsity game which starts at 4 p.m.