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Patriots get defensive

LINDEN — The Patriots (1-4) showed the makings of a successful game plan while leading much of the first half against R.C. Hatch Tuesday before coming apart at the seams en route to 57-36 loss.

“We started out the game exactly how we wanted to start out,” Linden head coach Joe Eatmon said following the game.

The team’s game plan was designed to neutralize a longer, more athletic R.C. Hatch team that averages nearly 80 points per game.

“We just honestly played better defense,” Eatmon said when comparing his team’s Tuesday night effort with that which it put forth while allowing 99 points to the Bobcats earlier this season. “We just concentrated on not gambling so much, which we still did more than I’d like at the end of the game.”

Eatmon’s squad played its way to a 6-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. During the opening period, the team worked the ball around and looked for preferable shots within the confines of a very slow and methodical offensive scheme.

“In order for us to stay in that ball game, we had to be disciplined,” Eatmon said.

His team began to unravel in the second quarter when it allowed R.C. Hatch to score 19 points in the quarter as it ran out to a 24-17 halftime lead.

“What it all boils down to is we’ve just got to work on our game plan,” Eatmon explained.

The Patriots emerged from the locker room and struggled to get going early in the third quarter. The team’s inability to hit shots and grab offensive rebounds quickly left Linden in a double-digit hole.

“What it all boils down to is we’ve just got to work on our game plan,” Eatmon said of his team’s frequently poor shot selection.

The Patriots cut the lead to as few as eight points before the Bobcats mounted another run to place the contest out of reach.

“R.C. Hatch, they’ve got a great program,” Eatmon said. “They were disciplined enough to do what they do. Toward the end it just wore us down and they’re discipline showed. Our being undisciplined showed.”

While Linden did not play the entire game the way Eatmon would have liked, he did concede that he was able to take some considerable positives from the contest.

“These out-of-conference games are huge for us,” Eatmon said. “I’m learning a lot about our guys and they’re learning what it takes to play with championship caliber teams.”

Eatmon said he was proud of the way his defense played in its efforts to limit RCH’s big men.

“They still probably doubled us in rebounds, but our guys did a good job of fronting the post and denying the ball,” Eatmon said.

The team plays again Saturday when it travels to Demopolis to take on the host team in a weekend tournament.

“It’s our fifth game. And we had a new point guard (transfer Martez Owens) out there,” Eatmon said. We’re going to get better as time goes.