Championship run: Patriots see plenty of success during school year
It was a year of championships and plenty of success during the school year at Pike Liberal Arts School.
The school picked up a total of three championships over the course of the year. In addition to the cheerleaders’ win over the summer, the Patriots picked up championships in varsity baseball and junior varsity basketball.
Not to be outdone, the Junior varsity football team finished their season with an undefeated record under first-year head coach Brandon Matthews.
The Patriots finished with an 8-0 record, but more than the wins, Matthews was happy with the growth of his team.
“My goal is to continue to see them grow,” Matthews said. “See them grow as leaders. I hope this season is kind of a pillar or a foundation for Pike Lib as a whole. A foundation for a successful program.”
The JV football program carried over the successful season to the basketball court. The JV Patriots lost just two games on their way to a 17-2 overall record and a championship.
“I am really excited for our players,” Matthews said after the championship. “Anytime you can see discipline and hard work pays off, it’s a good thing. These guys, really from the beginning of the year bought into our standards. To see them trusting that standard and to see it payoff is really cool.”
The Pike Patriot baseball team started the regular season 10-0 and it seemed inevitable that they would have a spot in Montgomery’s state championship series for the second consecutive season. A midseason stretch that saw the Patriots drop six games in a row, clouded the future.
The Patriots rallied late and went into the postseason as an area championship.
The Patriots steamrolled their way through the postseason by sweeping both Fort Dale and Tuscaloosa Academy, sending them to the championship.
The Patriots once again fought adversity after they lost game one in just three innings. The Patriots rallied to win games two and three and hoisted the trophy once again.
“For five or six games we were really bad,” said head coach Allen Ponder. “When you’re able to come back and turn that thing around that is a direct result of senior leadership. We had a great group of seniors that were here for three years in a row. They understand what it takes to get here.”
The Patriot boys’ basketball team made it all the way to Montgomery and the final four during their 2018-2019 season.
After struggling to get a win in Montgomery over the last few seasons, the Patriots finally hurdled into the final four with a 62-55 win over Morgan Academy. It marked the first time in 16 years that the Patriots advanced to the final four.
“Our kids went into the game understanding that it had been 16 years since Pike Lib had been to the final four and they were hungry to get there,” Ponder said. “They worked their tails off to get there and the hard work paid off.”
The Patriots came up short in a 61-47 loss to Bessemer.
The Lady Patriots finished the regular season with a 12-15 and a trip to the state tournament in Montgomery.
Despite the sub .500 winning percentage, 11 of their 12 losses came against ranked teams.
The Lady Patriots volleyball team finished their season with an 8-9 record under head coach Mallory Floyd. The eight wins for the Patriots was seven more than they had during the 2017 season.
The Lady Patriot softball team made it back to Lagoon Park in Montgomery in 2019 after finishing in third in 2018. The Patriots advanced to day two of the tournament and finished fourth in the state.
“We set our goal to play in the championship game and we fell just a little bit short,” said head coach Robert Rollan. “But that was probably one of the best tournaments we’ve played. We had good defense; we had really good games from our pitchers, we hit well and ran the bases well.”
The Patriot football team advanced to the postseason for the third straight season. The Patriots began the season with a 7-0 record and finished the regular season 10-1.
The Patriot golf team participated in the state tournament at the Troy Country Club this season. The Patriots finished the tournament in seventh place. Jace Calhoun finished the tournament in 16th place.
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