No. 13 Patrick Henry battles No. 10 Louisburg in Region X clash

January 19, 2016


MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Wednesday night’s 7 p.m. Region X clash between nationally ranked Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and Louisburg College could go a long way in determining the final pecking order in the conference standings.

PHCC men’s basketball coach Kenny Wade knows the importance of each conference game and the constant movement teams make in the standings week-to-week. The No. 13 Patriots (13-2, 6-1) hope they can keep moving up and balance out the top of pack with a win over the No. 10 Hurricanes (15-3, 7-0).

Louisburg is the lone unbeaten team in Region X, Division II. A win by the Patriots would give the top four teams in the conference one loss as Bryant & Stratton and Catawba Valley each have one Region X defeat like the Patriots.

“(The team) knows the stakes of this game and know what the outcome means with their position in the standings,” said Wade.

Wade said his players don’t need any extra motivation Wednesday when it comes to playing the conference’s top team. The Hurricanes have won 11 straight and feature one of the best offenses in the nation. With an 88 points per game scoring average, Louisburg has averaged 83 points per in winning the last six meetings against PHCC.

The Patriots have played the Hurricanes tough at home, however, allowing only 77 points per game at Stone Hall over the last three seasons. Going into the Wednesday’s conference clash, the Patriots offense has averaged 76 points per game while shooting 47 percent and winning three straight to open January. Coming off a two-game road sweep over the weekend at Lenoir and Pitt Community College, Wade said his players enter their biggest game of the season with lots of confidence.

“Louisburg usually puts up a lot of numbers but they don’t do it against us, except maybe when we go to their place,” Wade said. “They can be intimidating sometimes to players who haven’t played against them or aren’t used to that type of atmosphere. We usually play them tough though defensively.”

The Hurricanes have four scorers that average in double figures, led by CJ Hiil’s 17.4. While the Hurricanes shoot at better than 47 percent from the field, they only hit 33 percent of their 3-point attempts, averaging nearly eight makes a game on 23 tries. It’s their rebounding ability of 41 per game, however, that help them add extra possessions for the offense. Wade said his post players and guards all have to rebound well and limit Louisburg’s second-chance opportunities.

Ball control is Wade’s biggest concern, as Louisburg likes to press in a variety ways and force mistakes. The Patriots coach, however, believes his guards are ready to withstand any early pressure and traps posed by the Hurricane defense. Aiding in PHCC’s efforts is the return of sophomore Henry Butler. Wade said having Butler on the court gives the rest of the team confidence and leader to feed off of.

Butler had four points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals in the win over Pitt on Sunday and posted 11 points the day before against Lenoir in his season debut. The sophomore came off the bench in both games.

“(Butler) brings leadership which is important at this stage of the season,” Wade said. “He’s that calming factor that we needed. He played in some big games for us last year and performed very well. The guys look up to him so that leadership could be a difference maker.”

Patriots sophomore guard Shawn Duhon expects a fast, physical game. He said the team learned a lot from its lone conference loss prior to the break – a 71-53 defeat to Bryant & Stratton. The key, he said, will be matching the emotion and energy from the opening tip and limit any momentum shifts in the first 5-10 minutes.

“(Louisburg) will come out and play you hard every single play. As a sophomore, I’ve tried to tell the freshmen that they can’t get rattled by the pressure.”

Filed under: Men's Basketball