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Patriots learning from loss

With his team still reeling from an 81-56 loss to Livingston to close out its regular season, Linden head coach Joe Eatmon knows that one more stumble could end the Patriots’ campaign.

“No loss is a good loss. I’m not one to believe in moral victories,” Eatmon said. “When you’re playing bad and you’re winning, the guys don’t really realize they’re playing bad.”

Eatmon went on to say that the route his team suffered at the hands of the Cougars may have come at the most opportune time.

“It gets your attention,” Eatmon said.

The setback was the first one the Patriots have suffered this calendar year with their last loss coming against Demopolis on Dec. 27.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Eatmon said of the team’s breakdowns in the game. “A team that presses like we do, it’s hard to get in a press when you’re not hitting shots.”

The Patriots (12-6, 7-1) return to competition Thursday when they host the team that emerges from Tuesday’s area tournament play-in game between Sweet Water and A.L. Johnson. Even though his players are returning to their own floor for the tournament action, Eatmon knows how costly a lack of focus could prove to be.

“No matter where the game is played, you’ve still got to show up and you’ve still got to play well,” Eatmon said. “It’s hard to beat a team three times (in one season). These games are going to be a whole lot closer than those were earlier in the year.”

Linden won both ends of its home-and-home meetings with Sweet Water, A.L. Johnson and Sunshine during the regular season. The Patriots’ lone are loss came on the road at John Essex.