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Patriots split at Loganville
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The Heritage boys varsity basketball team got back on track after three consecutive losses Tuesday night, defeating region member Loganville 64-61 on the road.

Heritage led 13-4 after the first quarter, but the Red Devils outscored the Patriots by six in the second half, as the Patriots held off the Red Devils second-half comeback for their fifth region victory of the season.

The win moves Heritage to 15-5 overall, with a 5-3 mark in region play, while Loganville drops to 10-7 overall and 5-3 in Region 8-AAAAA.

Heritage coach Ralph Denmark described the game as the first “must-win” for his program this season.

“It was a pretty big win for us,” Denmark said. “I talked to my assistants before the game and said that this was the first time all year that we really needed a win. Coming into the game on the three-game losing streak, it was important that we got a win, especially a region win on the road.”

Carrying its nine-point lead into the second quarter, Heritage and Loganville played to a 14-14 tie, allowing the Patriots to take a 27-18 lead into halftime.

Loganville rallied in the third, outscoring Heritage 20-16, trimming the Patriots’ lead to five. The Red Devils edged Heritage 23-21 in the final period of play, but Loganville’s late run wasn’t enough to overcome Heritage’s early lead.

Denmark said the Patriots’ free-throw shooting ended up being the difference in the contest. Heritage shot 74 perfect for the game from the charity stripe, including a perfect 8-of-8 performance from Rashad Jones.

“Sometimes we try to make basketball a complicated game,” Denmark said. “It’s just about making free throws and shots. Free throws saved us tonight. Our guys stepped to the line in a hostile environment and they were able to concentrate and make their shots. It was a difference maker.”

Rashad Jones led three Patriots in double figures with 16 points, While Terrell Rainey added 14 and San Marteen Rozier added 11 in the win. Rainey also finished with a team-high eight rebounds, while Andre Harris paced the Patriots with seven assists.

The Patriots return to action Friday night in region play at home against Gainesville.

“I hope that we come out and play as hard as we did Tuesday night,” Denmark said. “We made some mistakes, but we showed a much better effort. We can use our game tonight to get off to a good start and be successful Friday.”

Lady Patriots knocked off

The Heritage girls varsity basketball team dropped its 19th game of the season Tuesday night to Loganville, falling 48-38 on the road.

The loss drops Heritage to 1-19 overall and 1-10 in region play.

Damali Thomas led Heritage with 15 points in the loss.

“We played much better against them this time than we did the first time we played them,” Heritage coach Lauren Chambers said. “We lost by 18 the first time we played them and only 10 tonight. We were in the game until the final two minutes when we had to send them to the line to try to catch up.”

Loganville hit its final five free throws in the fourth quarter to ice the game after outscoring the Lady Patriots by just one in the second half.

“They are a shooting team and we were able to hold them to just two 3-pointers,” Chambers said. “They got on a run, but we battled back and didn’t roll over. We’re learning to do that and we’re not letting teams go on double-digits runs against us. Now, we have to just learn how to close out games as a team.”

Chambers said that her team’s moral is still high, especially as her players continue to see improvements in their games.

“I keep telling them that even though our record is what it is, we’re improving each game,” she said. “Teams in our region are going to have to start noticing. This second time through the region, teams have had to give us games and play us tough because we’re getting better. When it comes down to the region tournament, it doesn’t matter what our record is. We can still knock a team out and make a run to reach the state tournament on our own.”