Patriots advance to Elite 8 with win over Springwood

Published 10:09 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

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The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots are heading back to Montgomery and the Elite 8 after they knocked off Springwood 80-67 on Friday night in Troy.

The Patriots will now shift their attention to next Wednesday when they will try to make their way to the Class 3A Final Four for the second consecutive season.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” head coach Allen Ponder said. “The goal every year is to get to the Elite 8 and once you get there anything can happen. You throw records out the window. I am very proud of my kids tonight it was a very physical game. I was proud with how they handled their composure.”

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The Patriots got contributions all over the court on Friday night. Javon Christian led the way with 23 points. Drew Nelson contributed with 23 points, while Austin Cross finished with 13 and Jeffrey Knotts had nine.

“That’s very important,” Ponder said. “We had some guys step up tonight. Jeff Knotts had a great basketball game for us. For him to step up, along with the three or four we expect from every game that just adds. We have to score a lot to win basketball games. I thought we did a great job on the defensive end tonight.”

The Patriots were able to push their lead to double digits in the fourth quarter, but for much of the game, the two teams battled back and forth.

“I give a ton of credit to Springwood because every time we extended the lead they would come back and cut it back and get back into the game,” Ponder said. “For our kids to keep fighting and battling back, that’s what we wanted to do. I think it’s going to help us going into next week.”

The Patriots will play a team still to be determined in the Class 3A Elite 8 beginning at 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon.