JV Patriots conclude season

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Pike Liberal Arts Junior Varsity Patriots concluded their season on Saturday in the AISA State Tournament.

The tournament ended abruptly for coach Arlton Hudson and the Patriots when they fell to Lakeside 43-30 in the opening round.

“We just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Hudson said. “We shot the ball well all year long. They got a good team, but we beat them 59-54 in the Abbeville tournament. Shots for us didn’t fall for us on Saturday. We got the shots we wanted, they just didn’t fall.”

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The Patriots shot 50 to 60 percent during the season according to Hudson. That percentage dropped to 25 percent on Saturday.

“That was the tale of the game,” Hudson said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and they did. We kept their two leading scorers down, but they had a kid that didn’t show up for the first game. I think he was five for seven from the three-point line. That was the difference in the game.”

Despite the early exit in the tournament, the Patriots had a strong year, finishing the season 11-2.

The Patriots jumped out of the gate against Autauga and shot 80 percent, leading coach Hudson to ponder how good his team might be.

“The Autauga coach said ‘Man, I don’t want to play you anymore,’” Hudson said. “The kids played well. We have a great group of kids. They worked hard. It was a year of the kids playing hard and we had a good team and a good season.”

The Patriots had success up and down their roster this year, but Javon Christian, who spent time with the varsity, and Drew Nelson stood out to Hudson.

Christian scored 36 points and won the MVP award.

“Javon is a heck of an athlete for a ninth grader,” Hudson said. “He gets a lot of playing time with the varsity. Drew Nelson is just an athlete.

The JV players are getting ready for the days when they can put on the varsity rosters. Hudson believes the future could be bright with the players moving up.

“If this group can stay together they can reach a lot of goals,” Hudson said. “There is a lot of potential with this group and I know coach (Allen) Ponder (varsity coach) is looking forward to coaching them because they are a great bunch of kids that are easy to coach.

“We had a team here two years ago that went 18-1. With that group together next year playing with this group, it should be an exciting time for basketball.”