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Aiming high: Lady Patriots begin state tournament

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots begin their journey to what they hope is a state championship when they begin postseason play against Glenwood this afternoon.

The Trojans finished the regular season with a 12-15 record. After finishing the season on Friday with a loss to Lakeside, the Patriots got back to work to prepare for a run in the playoffs.

“We had a really good practice last night,” said head coach Torie Peters. “We are going to watch film and get ready. I think if we mentally prepare ourselves, then they have the potential to come out with a big win tomorrow.”

The Patriots have had an up and down season full of quality wins and a run of losses. In many of the losses however, the Patriots were matching up with ranked teams.

“Our losses have come to top-10 teams in the state,” Peters said. “I think all but one loss has been to teams in the top 10. It’s still a hard pill to swallow. We have a lot of room to grow, but we are losing to good teams. We are just not always playing our best basketball. We have to be resilient and we have to learn how to play from behind.”

The quality of opponents is going to continue starting with the Gators this afternoon.

“It’s going to be about getting off the boards and boxing out,” Peters said. “The free throw line has been a weakness this season. To see us put up big numbers at the free throw line would be big.”

The Patriots have had a knack for strong three-point shooting this season. Shelby Renfroe, Ansley Adams, Tiffany Johnson and others have been able to make the long shot, allowing the team to stay in many of their ball games. The transition game is one area Peters would like to see her team improve in.

“We are going to work on our fast break,” Peters said. “When we run our offense and are having a good time playing as a team, there aren’t many teams that can beat us. We have to play our ball and play with confidence.”

Peters and the Patriots are game planning for a Gator team that is strong down low.

“They have a girl down low that puts it up,” Peters said. “She rebounds well and matching up with her is going to be the difference in the ball game. That and breaking the press and really getting into rhythm.

The road will continue to get harder in each round, but Peters believes a round one win for her team will go a long way towards building confidence.

“A postseason win would be huge for this group,” Peters said. “I think we play against ourselves and we have had an internal battle this season. Momentum in our favor would be huge. The winner of this game goes on to play number one Tuscaloosa Academy, so it’s going to be a tough road no matter what. A win would be huge for our program.”

Tipoff off between the Patriots and Gators is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Glenwood.