Heritage finds a way against Catholic
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Maybe if the Pope hadn’t quit, maybe if there wasn’t an asteroid coming by the Earth close enough to buzz satellites on Friday, maybe a lot of things had some, little or no impact Monday night in the opening round of the District 4-AAA Girls’ Tournament at Heritage. In the end, Leah Thomas came through with a sweet move along the right block in traffic to give sixth-seeded Heritage a 50-49 lead and the defense held on in the final 1.9 seconds to claim the 1-point win over No. 7 Catholic by the narrowest of margins.
“Leah did a good job back-cutting off of that. We usually set it up for her, but Abbie Burchfield made a good pass right there and it worked out perfect,” Heritage coach Rock Howard said after an old-fashion barn burner erupted. “With that team we had in there, with Kassi (Knight) and Autumn (Johnson) fouled out, that’s one of our best defensive units on the floor and they did a good job not letting them get the last shot off.”
The Lady Mountaineers battled back in the final stanza to erase a 9-point Irish lead over the final 4:46. Bethany Massey swished a baseline jumper from the left side to knot things at 43 as Catholic staggered at the free throw line the final moments going a collective 6-for-14. Thomas drained a trey to give Heritage a brief 46-44 advantage but the Irish hit three of their last four foul shots for the advantage with 21 seconds remaining.
“Bethany Massey hit a huge shot to tie it up then Leah finished it off there. It was looking bleak but they found a way to win and play another day,” Howard said. “I’m just so proud of our freshman post Katie Wolfe. I don’t know how many rebounds she had and hit some big shots for us and that’s what you have to have. With Kathryn Prior out, she has stepped right in there. We kept bringing her along in case something happened to someone and she stepped up to the challenge.”
Wolfe finished with a team-high 14 followed by Thomas with a dozen. Knight recorded 9 and Autumn Johnson 8 before both fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Clair Conaty put Heritage down early hitting all three of her 3s in second quarter stretch as the Irish banged home four of their five treys in succession to turn a 13-11 lead into a 26-14 advantage. Clair Conaty finished with a game high 19 and her twin sister Kathleen ended with 6. Erin Kenny chipped in 8 and Susan kenny 4. Abby McCullough added 7 before she too fouled out in the whistle-filled affair.
“I’m so proud of them, they got down by 14 and just kept fighting,” Howard said. “That’s when we switched the defense to the press and it caused a lot of turnovers and turned the game around for us. It gave is a little momentum. Catholic just hung in there. David Ball does a tremendous job and they’re always giving people good games. The record doesn’t show how good they are.”
The Lady Mountaineers joins No 5 seed Lenoir City in advancing to Wednesday’s quarterfinals at tourney host site Heritage. The Lady Panthers will take on No. 4 William Blount at 6 p.m. with Heritage and No. 3 seed Maryville tangling for the third time this season at 7:30 p.m. The boys’ first round opens tonight with Heritage taking on the farragut club it bested at season end and Lenoir City taking on William Blount’s boys at 7:30 p.m.
DISTRICT 4-AAA GIRLS TOURNAMENT
No. 6 HERITAGE 50, No. 7 CATHOLIC 49
Catholic 11 16 8 14 — 49
Heritage 9 17 6 18 — 50
No. 7 CATHOLIC— Clair Conaty 19, Kathleen Conaty 6, Abby McCullough 7, Erin Kenny 8, Susan Kenny 4, Brittany Scott 4, Allie McLaughlin 1.
No. 6 HERITAGE— Jordan Johnson 3, Leah Thomas 12, Bethany Massey 4, Autumn Johnson 8, Kassi Knight 9, Katie Wolfe 14.
3-POINTERS— C 5 (C Conaty 3, K. Conaty, S. Kenny); H 5 (Thomas 2, A. Johnson 2, J. Johnson).
No. 5 LENOIR CITY 64, No. 8 WEST 44
West 6 7 17 14 — 44
LC 16 19 16 13 — 64
No. 8 KNOX WEST— Hurdley 3, Butler 6, Burris 8, Cornelius 5, Kesler 5, Thompson 8, Blalock 9.
No. 5 LENOIR CITY— Lee 2, Jones 13, Hudson 1, Smartt 7, Steil 7, Latham 3, Thomas 2, Morris 4, Varner 6, Hurley 16.
3-POINTERS— W 4 (Thompson 2, Cornelius, Burris); LC 6 (Jones 3, Smartt, Steil, Latham).
6 p.m. — No. 4 William Blount vs. No. 5 Lenoir City
7:30 p.m. — No. 3 Maryville vs. No. 6 Heritage
4:30 p.m. No. 1 Farragut vs. 7:30 p.m. quarterfinal winner
6 p.m. — No. 2 Bearden vs. 6 p.m. quarterfinal winner
CONSOLATION — 6 p.m. Monday
CHAMPIONSHIP — 7:30 p.m. Monday