The Surry Home Educator’s Runnin’ Patriots basketball team is off to a 5-2 start this season, after defeating Sheets Memorial Christian School 52-34 Tuesday night.
Against Sheets the Patriots scored consistently in the post, led by junior forward Nathaniel Goodman, who tallied 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, according to assistant coach Paul Bunke.
The team was also led by senior Nate Gerber, who recorded his third triple-double of the season with 13 points, 18 rebounds, and 14 assists to go along with 7 steals and 6 blocked shots.
The stand-out effort came a few nights after Gerber recorded the rarest of feats — a quadruple-double against Noble Academy
In that game, played at home at the Armfield Center in Pilot Mountain against Noble Academy on Nov. 16, Gerber had 17 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists with 12 steals in leading the Runnin’ Patriots to a 62-56 victory. In that game Goodman recorded 18 points with 9 rebounds and senior Chad Brantley scored 13 points to go with eight rebounds and eight steals.
Against Sheets on Tuesday, Brantley added 9 points and pulled down eight rebounds despite foul trouble.
PJ Bunke, a junior guard, also plagued with foul trouble, added five points and sophomore point guard Andrew Thoppil recorded four assists, five rebounds, and five steals.
“This is one of those games you like to see as a coach,” said head coach Todd Gerber. “We’ve been pushing teamwork, unselfishness, and intensity to the last second of the game. We were able to go to our bench early, and every player made a contribution.”
The Patriots’ younger players made big contributions early. “We are a young team,” added Coach Gerber. “We have lots of freshman and sophomores on the team, and we are spending time with each player in developing his game and our team’s future.”
The season is also special, and somewhat sobering, for the players as they continue honoring teammate Dakota Pittman, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in September. The team has dedicated this season to the memory of Pittman, with warm-up jackets honor his memory. In addition Nate Gerber is wearing Dakota’s #1 jersey this year as a tribute to his friend.
“I would probably say the most memorable thing about Dakota was that he was a good leader,” said Paul Bunke. “He looked out for the other guys on the team, especially the younger players. Nate certainly has carried that on.”
The Runnin’ Patriots started their season in Greensboro in the North Carolina Home Educator’s pre-season tournament, where the squad finished third. Other teams featured in the tourney included Hickory, Durham, Richmond, Va., Asheville and Blue Ridge Home Educators of Hillsville, Va.
The Patriots next play Greensboro Home Educators on Tuesday and Durham on Thursday, both on the road.