Heritage shows little rust against Trinity
by Doug Gorman
It came 24 hours later than expected, but The Heritage School basketball teams swept rival Trinity Christian in a GISA region basketball game at home Saturday.
The GISA Region 1-AAA doubleheader was postponed from Friday when both schools called off classes for the fourth day in a row because of the weather.
But when finally taking the floor, both home teams showed no signs of rust.
The Lady Hawks rolled to a 53-24 win over the Lady Lions, while the Hawks used a huge third quarter to earn a 77-55 victory over the Lions in the nightcap.
Both Heritage School lineups swept the home-and-home series with Trinity during the regular season.
The Hawks turned a close game at the half into a rout to claim the win over the Lions and improve to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in the region. The loss dropped the Lions to 3-13 overall and 1-3 in league play.
Trinity stayed within range, trailing 39-32 at halftime despite struggling to match up with Heritage sophomore center Cole Jones in the post. But a 20-2 run by the Hawks in the third quarter put the game away as Jones finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“We knew, this being a rivalry game, it was going to be nip and tuck early,” said Heritage head coach Rusty Evans. “We were looking for something to give us the edge and we came out in the third quarter with a little bit of extra energy.”
Jones led three Hawks in double figures among 17 that saw action en route to the win.
Luke Smith led the way with 16 points and Rich Yancey tossed in 15 points to help the Hawks win in their first contest since Winter Storm Leon put a halt to the high school sports schedule in Coweta since Monday.
An upset-minded Trinity team kept the game close in the first half, including sending the contest into the second period tied at 13-all.
Daniel Jones knocked down three 3-pointers in the first period, and Luke Hammock also had two of his own as the Lions used its long-distance shooting to stay in the game through halftime.
Hammock finished the game with 18 points and Jones 16 for Trinity.
In the girls contest, the Lady Hawks led from start to finish, taking a lead for good on a 5-0 run to close the first quarter starting with Amanda Windom’s basket after Trinity’s Ashley Caldwell tied the game at 6-6.
Windom scored 12 of her 14 points before halftime as Heritage went to the break leading 30-14.
With the win, the Lady Hawks improved to 17-3 overall and 7-0 in 1-AAA. Trinity dropped to 7-9 and 0-3.
“The girls know how important this game is, it being a rivalry and being at home,” head coach Derrick Clay said. “This is our second time through the region. Our approach has always been to take every game like we are playing the No. 1 team in the state.”
The Lady Hawks relied on a strong defensive effort to limit Trinity ‘s scoring chances.
Trinity managed to convert just eight shots from the field, but none in the fourth quarter as the Lady Hawks held the Lady Lions to just four points in the final eight minutes — all of which came on four free-throws from Caldwell while closing out her team-high 10 points for Trinity.
Freshman Kara Groover also finished with 14 points for the Lady Hawks including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from just over midcourt to push a 16-point advantage. Teammate Abbie Farr also added 10 in the victory for Heritage, which improved its defensive effort from its first meeting with Trinity, a 54-47 win on Jan. 10.
“We are disappointed if we give up too many points,” Clay said. “We take pride in our defense. They were very upset that they gave up more than 40 points against Trinity the first time we played.”