Patriots end busy stretch on a seven-game winning streak

Published 9:51 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots have had a busy schedule over the last week and half. The Patriots recently wrapped up a stretch that saw them play in seven games over an eight-day span. Head coach Allen Ponder and the Patriots won them all.

The Patriots enter the holiday break with a seven-game winning streak, a streak they capped off with a championship in Holliday Hoops Classic over the weekend.

“Anytime you can string together quite a few wins is big for your team,” Ponder said. “We wanted to pack in as many games as we could into the week because we knew we were going to be off after that. We wanted to do that to learn how to battle fatigue and to prepare ourselves. It was big to win all seven of them.”

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The Patriots finished off the Classic with a win over Northside Methodist on Saturday.

“Anytime you can win any type of championship is big,” Ponder said. “I’m very proud of our kids and how they did this week.”

Senior Max Copeland took home the Most Valuable Player Award for his play in the tournament.

“He did the same thing he has done all year long,” Ponder said. “Max has kind of been our spark plug. He is an energy kid, he is a very emotional kid and a very good leader for our guys. He has done it all year and he carried it over into the tournament.”

During the Patriot’s seven-game winning streak, the schedule has been less than favorable. The Patriots have played teams such as Autauga Academy and Glenwood.

“That’s two opponents that you expect to be in the final four each and every year,” Ponder said. “Glenwood was a very fundamental team, a very tough team. Our kids came out and played very well. We get to Autauga and we expect there to be a little fatigue. Our kids came out and played very hard. Coming out with back-to-back wins against quality opponents was very big for us.”

The Patriots started the season 0-3. Since then, the Patriots have a combined record of 9-1.

“Our kids just had to get into basketball mode,” Ponder said. “Our kids went from the football field, we had a few days of practice and we had our first basketball game. We needed a few days to prepare. Our first few games were great for us because they showed us what we really needed to work on.”

The Patriots will now ease back the throttle and wait for their first game in the first week of January.

“We have to make each other better,” Ponder said. “The toughest opponent they need to see during the year is themselves in practice. They need to work extremely hard against each other. That couldn’t be more true when you have this long break. We are going to have a lot of days to practice and in those days we are going to have to make each better because we have no choice.”