Aggressive Heritage pulls away from Sequoyah, 55-47
By Will Estep | (email@example.com)
In what was a close battle all game long, Rick Howard’s Heritage girls’ basketball team used aggressive defense to pull out a win over visiting Sequoyah on Tuesday.
Heritage pulled away late in the Hall of Fame game and held on to win 55-47 over the Chiefs, who the Lady Mountaineers split with last season in two games.
The Lady Mountaineers only held a 42-40 lead over the Chiefs, who went to the Region 3-AA championship game last season, with 5:50 remaining in the contest.
Heritage (1-0) then turned up the defensive pressure even more by holding Sequoyah scoreless for the next 4:45 and taking a 49-40 lead in the process, making it the largest margin of the contest for the Lady Mountaineers.
“We got up and they kept getting a chance and we were stopping them,” Howard said. “We were rebounding then, and I thought they out-rebounded us in the second half until that point. We did a good job of holding them, and they have some scorers.”
The key moment for the Lady Mountaineers in the fourth quarter surge came when point guard Jordan Johnson’s lay up gave Heritage a 44-40 lead. Johnson then came down on the opposite end of the court and took a charge to get the home crowd even more into the contest.
Johnson finished as the game’s leading scorer with 14 points in the season debut for each squad.
“Jordan bounced back from the first half and hit some big free throws and led the team real well down the stretch,” Howard said.
Sequoyah (0-1) took a 36-35 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter, but Heritage would take the lead soon after and never give it up.
Senior post Kathryn Pryor played suffocating defense and finished with seven points and sophomore Kassi Knight notched nine points from the post.
The Chiefs only had one player in double figures with Emily Ingram putting up 10 points.
Heritage’s Bethany Massey chipped in 11 points and her teammate Leah Thomas recorded 10. Lindsey Taylor only scored two points, but the senior was the leading rebounder for Heritage with seven boards.
SEQUOYAH 66, HERITAGE 60
Bill Duncan’s debut at Heritage didn’t start off the way he wanted it to, but it could have been worse.
The Mountaineers coach saw his team get behind 18-2 early on before making a comeback against the Chiefs, but Heritage fell short as Sequoyah recorded a 66-60 win.
Heritage (0-1) cut the contest to a seven-point game with 1:45 left in the fourth, but could get no closer until Luca Stošic hit a 3-pointer as time expired to make the game a six-point margin. Stošic and Jesse Huff each finished as the leading scorers for Heritage with 12 points.
Costly turnovers slowed the Moutaineers all night. Sequoyah (1-0) scored 28 points off 27 Heritage turnovers.
“If you have 27 turnovers, you need to be beaten by 30, not by six,” Duncan said. “We have to learn how to handle the pressure and it’s not just our point guards that are the problem.”
Andrew Millsaps finished with a game-high 25 points for the Chiefs and Shon Stevens put up 16.