Patriots ready for season

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New head coach Brandon Matthews and the Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots tip-off their season on Thursday night in Montgomery.

The Patriots will begin the season playing in a tournament at Evangel Christian Academy.

Matthews takes over for former head coach Torie Peters. Matthews spent last season coaching the junior varsity boys’ basketball team.

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“I’m extremely excited about,” Matthews said. “It’s the same goal, I want to develop these girls as leaders and see them grow as young women. I’m really excited about the challenge.”

Matthews will be coaching a roster that has a good mix of returning players and players that are new to basketball.

“We have good athletes on our team,” Matthews said. “We have girls that have never played basketball, at least not regularly, but we are going to be a team that gives relentless effort. We are going to be extremely tough, disciplined and we are going to be good teammates. That is the standard we put before them and they’re locked into that.”

Matthews coming on board only adds to the excitement level surrounding Patriot basketball this season.

“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding basketball right now,” Matthews said. “Obviously with new facilities coming in, everybody is excited. These girls have been putting in early morning workouts. They have been practicing regularly and they have been investing time and that has also elevated the excitement.”

The new hardwood floor, along with new bleachers, aren’t scheduled to be done until sometime in December. Until then, the Patriots will practice elsewhere and play most of their early games on the road.

“Right now, practicing is difficult because we can’t just practice here,” Matthews said. “We are blessed to have a lot of really good supporters here that are helping us. The challenge will be maintaining focus. Being on road trips can be tiring, but I don’t anticipate it really phasing us. I am excited about it because we know the reason we are doing this is because we are about to play on a brand-new court.”

The Patriots will be fun to watch this season according to Matthews. Their offense will feature plenty of fast breaks and aggression.

“We are going to be running the floor and we are going to be aggressive,” Matthews said. “We are going to be shooting the basketball. We don’t have a lot of height, but we have some shooters and we have some people that will get after it on defense. I anticipate us creating turnovers and running the floor with it.”

Despite those positive traits, the X-Factor will come down to how tough the team is this season.

“What I have been focusing on is getting these girls tough,” Matthews said. “If they can stay tough mentally and physically, they are going to win a lot of games. I think the toughest teams win a lot and that is what I am focusing on.”

The Patriots will play their home opener on December 9 against Abbeville.