Patriots get back to work in AISA Elite 8

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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After a lengthy break, the Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots return to action today in the AISA Elite 8 at the Crampton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery.

The Lady Patriots last played nearly two weeks ago. On Wednesday evening they will have an opportunity to advance to the Final Four with a win against Morgan Academy.

“There has been some challenges, obviously they are tired of scrimmaging,” head coach Brandon Matthews said. “They are ready to compete against another team. Ultimately we were able to fix a lot of things and get better.”

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The Patriots lengthy layoff is attributed to their success during the regular season. The Patriots finished the regular season as area champions and finished the regular season 21-7.

With the first place finish the Lady Patriots earned their way to a first round bye.

“We are really excited as a program,” Matthews said. “This is a positive step forward. These girls have worked really hard and they have some fruit from it. They’re very excited about it, but they are eager to play and compete.”

It was back to the basics for Matthews and the Lady Patriots in the break. They mainly worked on fundamentals while spending a little time on different scenarios.

“We worked on defensive fundamentals. We worked on offensive fundamentals,” Matthews said. “Pass, dribble and shoot. On defense we worked on closing out. All those things we worked on getting better at. We haven’t really added anything, but we have gone through some different scenarios.”

The Patriots will be on a big stage when they begin play on Wednesday. The key for Matthews and the Patriots is to treat it like any other game.

“Our mindset going into this isn’t any different from the rest of the season,” Matthews said. “It’s obviously a bigger stage in the playoffs and the Elite 8. However, I think our girls have done a good job at staying focused. Our mentality is no different today than it was at the beginning of the season.”

The Morgan Academy Senators come into the game as the number two seed on their side of the bracket. They knocked off Russell Christian in round one.

“Morgan is a solid team,” Matthews said. “They ‘re tough and they play really physical. We were able to have some success against them the two times we played them, but we have a lot of respect for them. Our attention is completely on Morgan. We expect them to play us hard.”

On Tuesday it was announced that the Patriots’ Shelby Renfroe and Ansley Adams was selected to play in the upcoming AISA All-Star Game. Sarah Todd Floyd was named as an alternate.

Game time for the Lady Patriots is scheduled for 6 p.m.