High School Basketball
Heritage Christian flexes muscles against bigger schools
by Doug Gorman
There could be a new high school basketball power on the block, but it’s a good bet many fans have never given them too much thought, or even heard of the Heritage Christian Crusaders.
Although the school has been around for more than three decades, and achieved some success in sports, winning titles last season in both boys and girls basketball while competing in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama athletic league, sports hasn’t always been a priority the school.
That’s about to change.
Heritage Christian — which is planning to change its name to Central Christian according to school officials — is jumping from the now defunct ICSGA to the National Christian Schools Athletic Association.
It is a move new athletic director and first-year boys basketball coach Buddy Woolf hopes will help give the school more visible.
It’s already helping bring in some athletes who are excited about getting a Christian education and playing a high-level of athletics and its showing on the basketball floor this summer.
Earlier this week, the Crusaders beat two Georgia High School Association schools in Northgate and Our Lady of Mercy at the Heritage School Basketball Jamboree.
“We are grateful to the Heritage School for inviting us to participate this summer,” Woolf said. “They have been really good to us.”
The coach said the school’s mission is clear—give its students a Christian education, while putting a competitive product on the floor.
“We really want to build an elite athletic program at Heritage (Christian),” Woolf said. “We are sandwiched between two bigger private schools and 6A and 5A schools, so there are not a lot of people who know us. There a kids who fall through the cracks, what (Principal) Bill Parsons and I are trying to establish is giving some of these kids and opportunity that may not have.”
Although GHSA rules prevent Heritage Christian from playing public school teams during the regular season, showing they can hold their own was a giant step.
“The biggest challenge we have is we are so small and well-hidden, all be it on purpose a little bit that there are a lot of people who don’t know about the school,” Woolf said. “Even though this is just summertime anytime you can compete against bigger schools it gets your name on there.”
The Crusaders are trying to build off of last year’s ICSGA title with some some returning talent and some transfers who are showing this summer they are ready to step in and play.
Jared Slaughter, who averaged nearly 10 points per game last season, returns to the starting line up.
“He was a major reason they were successful last year,” Woolf said. “He is in a system now where he can really be a standout. To me, he might be the best point guard in the county.”
Jarvis Jenkins a transfer from Langston Hughes is enjoying a solid summer. Jenkins comes to the program for his senior year.
“He does everything, he scores, and he plays amazing defense. He is able to change the dynamic of the game.”
Two other transfers could also help Heritage Christian in their transition to the new league with L.V. Peterkin and Dee Lawal.
Both scored double figures in the team’s win over Our Lady of Mercy this week at the Heritage School Jamboree.
Next week, the Crusaders will take their basketball team to Georgia Tech to participate in the annual team camp.
During the two day event, the squad is expected to test its skill level against GHSA state powers Norcross and Westlake.
”It’s a good way for us to bond and see how we match up against some of the best team’s in the state,” said Woolf. “We are looking forward to it. We will have a chance to play a lot of basketball in a short time.”