Patriot teams finish second at Abbeville tournament

Published 4:58 pm Monday, December 16, 2019

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The Pike Liberal Arts varsity boys and girls basketball team finished up tournament play in Abbeville with second place finishes.

The boys finished their tournament with a 71-60 loss to Calvary Christian on Saturday.

The Lady Patriots finished off the tournament with a 45-42 loss to Abbeville Christian.

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After finishing day one the tournament 2-0 with wins over Calvary Christian and Chambers Academy, the Patriots advanced to the championship. The 2-1 finish in the tournament brings them to 7-7 on the season.

“It was a good tournament for us,” Matthews said. “I thought we were really competitive and we played with a lot of toughness and it really excites me moving forward. Seems like we are improving every day.”

The Patriots entered the tournament 5-6. During the three-day tournament, Matthews was pleased with his team’s defense.

“I thought we played defense really well,” Matthews said. “The challenge to them was to do little things right. I thought we rebounded well and communicated really well defensively. I thought it helped us have success defensively. The team gets tougher and tougher every day and I can’t express how important that is moving forward.”

With the team teetering around the .500 mark all season long, Matthews believes this weekend will go a long way in providing confidence in his players.

“I think it was a unique experience,” Matthews said. “I think they did grow in confidence. We had four players gone on Saturday; to compete the way we did I thought was great. I think it built confidence in our girls and I’m excited to see where it takes us moving forward.”

Tiffany Johnson and Shelby Renfroe each took home All-Tournament offers.

“I thought both of those girls did awesome,” Matthews said. “Tiffany played well on both sides of the ball, specifically defensively. She made some crucial shots when she needed to. Shelby is growing as a leader every day. She is point guard for us 99 percent of the time. She is super coachable and does a great job conducting on the floor.”

The varsity boys won an overtime game on Friday to send them to their championship on Saturday. Despite the loss, Ponder was impressed with what he saw over the weekend.

“I was very proud of our boys this weekend,” Ponder said. “Our effort was outstanding and our execution is getting better each game.”

With a 2-1 finish, 2he Patriots find themselves at 3-6 on the record. Ponder hopes this performance will lead to greater things in the 2020 portion of their schedule.

“Although our record is not great right now, our boys understand that we want to be playing our best basketball when it counts,” Ponder said. “We have come a long way since the beginning and will only continue to get better with hard work.”

Nick O’Brien and Javon Christian were named to the All-Tournament team.

The junior varsity boys and girls teams also finished runner-up in their tournament. Parker Adams and Cade Renfroe were named to the All-Tournament team for the boys, while Lakin Harrell and Brooklyn Fountain were selected for the Lady Patriots.

The Patriots will be back in action on Thursday when they host Autauga beginning at 4 p.m.