Patriots take down state’s number one team Evangel

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots took down the state’s number one team in Evangel Christian 58-39 on Monday evening in Troy.

The win for the Patriots improves their record on the season to 14-5.

“(Monday) night was a great win,”’ said head coach Alan Ponder. “Evangel has a great basketball team. They are very well-coached, very fundamental, very athletic. For us to come in and get a win is big for us. We are getting towards the end and the playoffs. It’s always good to have big wins against very good opponents. Last night was a big win for us.”

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Senior Jade Sikes finished with a game-high 23 points in the win. Ty Singleton also finished in double figures with 11 points and Nick O’Brien had nine.

“(Sikes) has kind of been our quiet leader all year long,” Ponder said. “There is nothing really flashy, but he gets the job done every single game. He gives us something different every game. If we need a big three-point shot, he is always there to knock it down. If we need offensive rebounds, he goes in and gets offensive rebounds. He has been that quiet guy that does what we needed to do to win. It’s great to have a kid like that, that finds a way to win no matter what you ask him to do.”

The game remained tight between the Lions and Patriots. Sikes finished the first quarter with nine points. The Patriots went into the second quarter leading by a point at 19-18.

The Patriot defense held the Lions to six points in the second and went into halftime holding a 33-24 lead.

Sikes knocked down eight more points in the third quarter and the Patriots continued to hold a comfortable lead, heading into the fourth quarter up 46-32.

The Patriots outscored the Lions by one point in the fourth 12-11 to secure the win.

The Patriots have gone 5-0 since the calendar flipped to 2019.

“This time of the year, any win is going to give you momentum,” Ponder said. “Usually on the back end of your schedule, you play good teams. We probably played our best defensive game that we have played all year. This team has found a way to do it all year long. These kids go into every game believing they are going to win.”

The Patriots will be back in action on Thursday when they host Northside.