Patriots enter the holiday break seeking momentum

Published 7:14 pm Friday, December 20, 2019

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The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots have had an up and down season heading into the holiday break, but on Thursday they hoped to have picked up some positive momentum with an upset win over No. 2 Autauga Academy inside the Patriots oven.

The Patriots entered Thursday’s game with a 3-8 record. The Patriots had the Generals on the ropes all game long in what was the team’s most complete performance according to head coach Allen Ponder.

“It was a fun night,” Ponder said. “Our kids played hard and they played well. It was great to get a win over a quality opponent.”

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The Patriots made eight 3-pointers on the night. It’s a strength that the Patriots have been trying to capitalize on all season long.

“If you look at the dynamic of this team, you can go through our book every game and you will see that we are going to shoot a lot of 3-point shots,” Ponder said. “That’s how we are built this year. We are undersized, but we have some guys that can shoot the ball. It’s going to be a live-by-it, die-by-it philosophy this year, but last night (Thursday night) we happened to shoot it very well.”

Despite being undersized, the Patriots were able to get key offensive rebounds in the win.

“That’s something we haven’t done a lot of this year,” Ponder said. “We were very efficient on the defensive end of the court. It was by far the most complete game we have played this year.”

With largely a new roster, complete games have been far and few between for Ponders team. Ponder believes Thursday night’s success gives the Patriots a reason to believe that their hard work will pay off.

“It’s very important,” Ponder said. “More so, it’s about having some success after all the hard work. We’ve played a very hard schedule this year, but we are not making excuses. For us to continue to work hard and have a positive attitude, it’s great for us to see some success.”

The Patriots closed out the 2019 portion of their schedule on Thursday night against Morgan Academy. The Patriots’ goal was to be playing their best basketball heading into the Christmas break. Ponder hopes Thursday’s win could propel the Patriots to bigger achievements in 2020.

“I think that win gives the kids confidence that they can win against quality opponents,” Ponder said. “We want to be playing our best basketball going into Christmas. We understand the early season’s ups and downs, but we have preached the entire season that we want to be playing our best basketball going into Christmas, so we can have some momentum going into the second half and area play. I think last night (Thursday) was definitely a step in the right direction.”

After the holiday break, the Patriots will return to action on January 6 when they host Crenshaw Christian beginning with the junior varsity girls at 4 p.m.