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Lady Patriots end season with loss

The Pike Liberal Lady Patriots had their season come to close on Thursday after they fell to Monroe Academy 39-25 in the opening round of the Region 1 basketball tournament in Greenville.

The Patriots had two quarters where they struggled to score the basketball and they couldn’t recover.

“We made crazy mistakes and turned the ball over,” Garner said. “You can’t win when you turn the ball over.”

The Patriots were held scoreless in one quarter and scored just four points in another in what was a competitive game for Garner’s Patriots.

“We fought hard and played pretty good defense,” Garner said. “It kept us close even though we had two bad quarters. If we would have scored like we did in the first and last quarters we would have had a better chance to win.”

Jordan Grice came in off the bench and attempted to jolt the Patriots offense early.

“Jordan Grice came in off the bench and really gave us a spark,” Garner said. “They jumped out to a 10 point lead and she came in and hit two threes and got us going.”

The Patriots didn’t finish where they would have liked, but it was a season of learning and experience for the young Patriots.

“We had three seniors come in that didn’t have any varsity game experience,” Garner said. Eden Hipps had some varsity experience but it wasn’t as much as she had when I started. I told her she had to play and she stepped up to the plate and played. Same with Haleigh Dewberry, she only played one year of JV ball and decided to come out this year. Those two anchored the center and I can trust them to do anything. Hollis (Floyd) played hard and never gave up. The girls played hard and never gave up on me or our season.”

Garner credited his players for not giving up during the season. During the offseason he challenged his players to find confidence in knowing they can compete with anyone.

During the summer Garner wants his players to focus on two things.

“Dribbling and shooting,” Garner said. “That is pretty much our main focus going forward to next year with the ones we have coming back. We will have just one senior coming back. We are going to have a young group and we are going to work them hard this summer.”

As for Garner, his first year with the program was something he enjoyed.

“It was a joy,” Garner said. “I enjoyed it. They taught me something. I told them every team was different. The more I pushed them the more they met my expectations. I had a goal in mind for them and they started to meet those goals.”