Lady Patriots establishing their identity heading into the break

Published 3:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots entered the Christmas break with a winning record. They hope to carry over that momentum when they pick back up in 2020.

Head coach Brandon Matthews entered the season with the goal of changing the culture at Pike Liberal Arts. Now 16 games in to their schedule, they are beginning to pile up the wins and find themselves 9-7 on the season.

“We are doing well,” Matthews said. “We obviously still have a lot to improve on, but I think we have improved. We are establishing an identity, more so on the offensive side of the ball. We are in the break above .500. So, we had a decent December for the most part, we got some wins. I like where we are right now.”

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The Patriots entered the season with the potential of being a good shooting team. At times, the Patriots have lived up to that potential. However, earlier in the season, Matthews believes his team became too dependent on the deep shot. Lately he has seen a more balanced looking offense.

“They can shoot beyond the perimeter, but I feel we are becoming more complete,” Matthews said. “That’s the goal. We are focusing a lot on transition offense and making easy layups. I think early on we relied too much on the 3-point ball. I think now we are moving in the direction of being more complete.”

The Patriots have played a competitive schedule in the first month that included Autauga, Morgan Academy, Macon East and Glenwood.

“I think we have played some good opponents,” Matthews said. “I think it’s been good for us. I think these girls are growing with their competitiveness. It has presented us with an opportunity for us to grow as a team. Our expectations are a lot higher for them this year. It’s provided a lot of great opportunities to grow as a team.

“I feel confident that we played good opponents and that can only help us going into 2020.”

Preparation for 2020 is already ongoing. The Patriots have opened the gym during the holiday season and the players are already taking advantage.

“We were able to have a good December,” Matthews said. “It’s momentum that we are carrying into the break. We are trying to create a culture where we are competing at the highest level. They have enjoyed some fruit from their hard labor and work. They trust our process and vision. We are moving in a good direction culturally.”

The Patriots will begin the 2020 portion of their schedule on January 6 when they host Crenshaw County. Five of their first six games out of the break will be home games.