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Despite challenges, Lady Patriots looking for strong finish

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots are hoping for a strong start to the 2021 portion of their schedule.

Eight games into their schedule, coach Brandon Matthews and the Lady Patriots have faced their fair share of challenges, but enter 2021 with a 4-4 record. Despite scheduling changes the Patriots continue to work hard and stay focused on accomplishing their goals.

“It’s been a wild year from a logistical and scheduling standpoint,” Matthews said. “Our girls are working hard. We have a lot we can improve on and I have a lot I can improve on. Our girls are still working hard and they are still bought in.”

The Patriots will enter 2021 with a lot of uncertainties when it comes to their schedule. After last playing Tuscaloosa Academy on Tuesday, it may be a few weeks before they play again.

“I don’t know how crazy are schedule is going to be moving forward,” Matthews said. “We have to adopt the mindset of controlling the things that are within our power to control.”

The Patriots have had multiple days off in between games already this season. Despite all the practice time, there is no substitution for live game action.

“It’s challenging,” Matthews said. “It’s not ideal. There is no simulation for games. In terms of identifying roles and for me trying to establish what we are good at there are challenges. There are no excuses. Our team takes ownership of everything win or lose. Everybody else is dealing with these things too, so what we have to do is buy into the mindsight of controlling the things we have the power to control.”

The Patriots enter 2021 coming off a last second loss to Tuscaloosa Academy. It came after they led the entire game. Before that the Patriots took on Glenwood in a rematch of last year’s playoff game in Montgomery.

“They are really quality teams,” Matthews said. “The Tuscaloosa game the other night was really tough. We led the game until the buzzer. We played some good teams and our girls are still growing. We let some games slip away from us. We have played some quality opponents and we will still play quality opponents moving forward.”

The Patriots have shown up defensively this season. Despite the loss they held the Knights to 35 points. Along with strong defense, the Patriots have received a lot of contributions from many players so far this season.

“We play good defense and we have a lot of different players who can contribute in different ways,” Matthews said. “We have a young team and trying to establish roles is kind of where we are at right now.”

The Patriots entered the season with some new faces and the goal was to have the team gel throughout the season. Despite all the challenges, the Patriots continue to grow as a team.

“In terms of questioning the girls and whether they love each other, I don’t have that in question,” Matthew said. “These girls are great teammates. We have people growing into leaders on a regular basis. That’s a win for me to see these girls growing up.”

As of Thursday, the Patriots are not scheduled to play until January 12 against Morgan.  Matthews Is hopeful he can schedule a game before then so his players can continue to get some game experience heading into area play.