It was a good night to be a Seminole Monday in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament, as the No. 7 Seminoles upset No. 2 Heritage 60-58 to earn a state playoff bid.
The Lady Seminoles also downed rival Heritage in their opening game of the region tournament, limiting the Lady Patriots to 10 points in a 51-10 victory.
In the boys game, Salem trailed by as many as 14, but erased the double-digit deficit in the second half with its stingy defense. Heritage went without a basket in the game’s final 5:45, as Salem turned a 51-47 fourth-quarter deficit into a two-point win.
With the game tied at 55-55, Kristopher Bridgeman gave Salem its first lead of the night with three minutes to play, converting a layup to put the Seminoles ahead 57-55. Heritage cut the lead to one with a free throw, but Bridgeman scored again on the Seminoles’ next possession, extending Salem’s lead to three with just minutes remaining.
The Patriots’ Rashad Jones hit a pair of free throws to bring Heritage to within one at 59-58 and a Salem turnover gave the Patriots one last shot at a win over their rivals. Unfortunately for Heritage, the Patriots’ Byron Adams had his jumper blocked and Salem came away with the loose ball. Quintavius Byrd hit one of two at the line and Heritage’s 3-pointer buzzer attempt missed its mark for the 60-58 final.
Bridgeman and Austin Samuel scored 13 points apiece in the win for Salem, while Jones led all scorers with 19 points.
The loss ends a 20-6 year for the Patriots.
Salem advances to take on the winner of No. 3 Apalachee and No. 6 Loganville at Loganville at 5:30 p.m.
Lady Seminoles victorious
The Lady Seminoles won their 20th consecutive game Monday night over rival Heritage in the quarterfinal round of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament, downing the Lady Patriots 51-10.
Ayanna Mitchell led Salem with 20 points, 12 rebounds and nine steals, while Jennifer Tindi finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Sixteen of Mitchell’s 10 points came in the opening half – a scoreless first half for the Lady Patriots.
Heritage didn’t score until the 4:28 mark in the third quarter on a Damali Thomas’ layup and whistle, as Salem marched out to a 40-0 advantage before Thomas converted on the basket and free throw.
Akila Murray added a 3-pointer for the Lady Patriots and Thomas scored four more late in the game, finishing as Heritage’s leading scorer with seven.
Salem will continue its run for a region title Tuesday against the winner of No. 4 Flowery Branch and No. 5 Loganville.