The Heritage Patriots boys varsity basketball team’s hopes of claiming the No. 1 seed in Region 8-AAAAA took a hit on the road Tuesday night, as the Patriots fell 59-51 to Cedar Shoals.
The loss dropped the Patriots two games behind region leader Clarke Central in the region standings with just one game left scheduled against the Gladiators in the regular season.
Heritage jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first half, but the Patriots surrendered 41 second-half points, while being outscored 20-9 in the final quarter of play.
“Last night was a tough one,” Heritage coach Ralph Denmark said. “A lot of our inexperience kind of showed last night. Cedar Shoals’ experience was there and they really hurt us with their two forwards. They made a difference in the game.”
After doubling up the Jaguars in the opening quarter, Cedar Shoals outscored Heritage 11-9 in the second quarter, but the Patriots still carried a 23-18 lead into halftime.
Cedar Shoals cut the Patriots’ lead down to three heading into the final quarter of play, where the Patriots were outscored by 11 in the quarter to fall by eight.
Denmark said being on the road didn’t affect the Patriots as much as he believed it would, but instead, their execution let them down in the end.
“We’ve gone up to Clarke Central and played in tough environments,” he said. “We’ve gotten used to that type of environment. It wasn’t being on the road – it was our execution. We still have a lot to work on.”
Four different Heritage players scored eight or more points in the loss, with Jordan Thomas and Isaiah Banks lead the Patriots with nine points each. Byron Abrams and Terrell Rainey finished with eight points each, with Rainey going a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor.
Andrew Harris paced the Patriots with six rebounds.
Heritage returns to action Friday at home against Clarke Central.
“We’re going to go back and work on some things in practice leading up to Friday’s game,” Denmark said. “Unfortunately, we can’t really focus on Clarke Central because we have a lot of things to fix on our end. I hope to see improvement on what we can do and let that affect how we play.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Lady Patriots fall
The Lady Patriots dropped the early contest to the Lady Jaguars, falling 47-43 to Cedar Shoals.