It might have taken 15 games, but the Lady Patriots finally tasted victory Wednesday night at home, earning their first win of the season with a 49-39 victory in region play against Apalachee.
Damali Thomas led Heritage with 20 points, but Heritage trailed by eight at halftime before making a second-half comeback. The Lady Patriots led after the third quarter, clinching the game with free throws in the final period of play to break their 14-game winless streak.
“It definitely was a good feeling to finally get our first win,” Heritage coach Lauren Chambers said. “After getting our jitters out in the first half, we played stronger and came out ahead in the second half. The girls played really well and it was a great win.
“I think we will be able to build momentum after tonight,” she said. “Going into this weekend, we have another rivalry game against Rockdale and this win can help build some confidence. It was much- needed, and now the girls have seen that we can do it. I think it’s going to lead us to bigger and better things. We needed to get this win under our belt.”
BriAllen McIver finished with a double-double for the Lady Patriots, scoring 13 points while grabbing 13 rebounds, while Alexis Hawkins added 12 points and four assists.
Patriots keep winning
Terrell Rainey scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the Patriots 80-74 overtime victory over Apalachee Wednesday night, moving Heritage’s Region 8-AAAAA record to 7-1.
The Patriots snapped the Wildcats 10-game winning streak, handing Apalachee its second loss of the season.
Apalachee’s Kamar Baldwin led all scorers with 38 points, but the Patriots’ Isaiah Banks and Jordan Thomas joined Rainey in double figures, scoring 14 and 10 points, respectively.
“For us, we weren’t looking at this game as a chance to break Apalachee’s win streak; we were looking at it as a way to stay on track in the region,” Heritage coach Ralph Denmark said. “Apalachee has a very good team and a very special player (in Kamar Baldwin). He’s the best that I’ve seen all year.
"To get a win against them this year and hold steady at No. 2 in the region heading into next week was important to us.”
The win gives the Patriots a chance to avenge an early season loss to Clarke Central next week for first place in the region, if they can get past Cedar Shoals on Tuesday.
“It’s important to keep the momentum going and we’re trying to get better in several areas,” Denmark said. “Clarke has a great team and we have a tough region. All of our teams are evenly paired, so being able to get the win over Apalachee was huge in keeping our ultimate goal in mind.”
The Patriots return to action Saturday, traveling to Rockdale County in non-region play. The girls’ game is set to begin at 4:30 p.m., with the boys’ contest to follow.