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Patriots keeping composure in tight games

January 19, 2016

By: CHRIS PRIDE

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Composure is a good word to define how the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) men’s basketball team has handled late-game situations so far this season.

The Patriots have won eight games by five points or less, including four by just one possession. With a 77-76 win Sunday over Pitt Community College on the road, the most recent late-game victory for the Patriots helped uphold their No. 13 NJCAA, Division II ranking.

PHCC has found a way to win each game that has come down to the final minutes. Whether it’s been a big defensive stop or a game-winning shot, the Patriots have had an answer for each situation. Head coach Kenny Wade said his team’s balance and clutch decision making are keys to being 13-2 this winter.

“I told them on day one that on any given night anyone of them could be the one that steps up and leads the team to a win,” Wade said. “There is no one person that is constantly going to lead this team.”

Sophomore Shawn Duhon said the manner in which the Patriots swept their Region X road swing only built more confidence. He added that because they’ve been able to succeed in handling close games, adjusting and executing in pressure situations has become easier. That in turn has led to a better understanding of what it takes to grind out wins, he said.

“We’re so used to playing tight games, that when we get in that position, we keep our composure,” Duhon said. “Coach (Wade) does a good job of helping us not get rattled. It’s all about not rushing and not playing into the other team’s hands.”

Wade mentioned how the team’s nine-game winning streak at the start of the season – which included seven by six points or less – helped instill some early-season confidence. It was during that stretch that Wade said he started to understand the moxie of his group and their ability to win games inside the final minute.

“When we went on that streak, things just seemed to keep going our way,” Wade said. “Over the course of that time you saw how the team started to blend in different ways, and that’s when I started to know that this could be a special team.”

No one shooter or defender is looked upon to make the ‘big’ play at the end of games. It’s that diversity, Wade said, that makes his team difficult to matchup with when the game is on the line. The Patriots have the personnel to win games from the outside as well as in the post. The flexibility of lineups Wade has at his disposal, depending on the situation, allows his players to succeed in the clutch.

Filed under: Men's Basketball

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