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Steady Patriots bury Red Devils
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The Heritage Patriots varsity boys basketball team earned its second region victory of the season Friday night at home behind an 18-point effort from senior Trevor Campbell, outlasting Loganville 66-53 to move their record to 5-1 overall.

The Patriots and Red Devils entered halftime tied 24-24, but Heritage outscored Loganville 27-17 in the fourth quarter for the home win.

Heritage iced the contest at the foul line, going 11-of-15 from the charity stripe in the final quarter of play, including a 5-for-5 effort from Rashad Jones.

While the Patriots struggled defensively trying to handle the Red Devils down low, on offense, their mid-range game excelled. The Patriots shot 70 percent from the floor in the second half, including 8-of-11 from the floor in the final eight minutes of the game, with most of those shots coming close to the rim.

“The offense did a good job tonight,” Heritage coach Ralph Denmark said. “We talked before the game about getting to the basket. We shoot pretty well, but today they weren’t falling in the first half, but we did a good job adjusting.”

Ahead 39-26 heading into the fourth quarter, Heritage pushed its lead to nine with a 7-1 run to open up the period. Jones hit five consecutive free throws for the Patriots after the Red Devils were whistled for an intentional foul and Jones was nailed on a 3-point attempt, giving Heritage a 46-37 advantage with 6:47 left in the game.

Heritage extended its lead to 12 on a Jones' off-balance jumper in the lane, widening its margin to 59-46 after Byron Abrams added a layup with under three minutes left in the contest.

Loganville trimmed the lead to single digits with 1:59 left in the game on a Dante Hibbert layup and foul, but Heritage hit three of their final four free throw attempts to seal the win.

Denmark said that Heritage struggled to put the Red Devils away early because of Loganville’s effort on the offensive glass.

“Rebounding is going to be a problem we are going to half all year,” Denmark said. “We’re not a very tall team. We have to use our guards to do a better job of coming down and helping our bigs when we’re rebounding.”

Heritage fell behind 9-6 in the first quarter after shooting just 11 percent in the period, but the Patriots took the lead in the second after Abrams drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and San Marteen Rozier hit a free throw to give the Patriots a 10-9 advantage. 

Abrams added seven points in the quarter, while Campbell finished with six, but Heritage trailed for most of the period, falling behind 22-18 after Loganville scored on back-to-back layups. The Patriots went on a 6-2 run in part to a Darryle Bowie drive and layup and an Isaiah Banks floater in the lane, tying the contest at 24-24 heading into the break.

Campbell had eight points at halftime, all coming in the second quarter.

Heritage’s defense turned up the heat in the third quarter, holding the Red Devils scoreless for almost four minutes in the period.

The Red Devils scored on a Marquis Leslie 3-pointer with 5:38 to go in the period, but did not find the scoreboard again until Leslie hit his second triple of the quarter with 1:51 to go in the third. During that time, Heritage went on an 11-0 run, pushing its margin to 39-30 after Leslie’s basket.

Leslie scored eight of the final nine points of the quarter for Loganville, but the Patriots still carried a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The win moves Heritage’s record in region play to 2-1.

“It feels good (to get a win) and it feels even better to get a win at home,” Denmark said. “We always want to defend our home court. We’re going to continue to get better making our way into February.”

Jones added 11 points for the Patriots, while Abrams finished with 10 points.

Heritage returns to action Dec. 10 on the road at Gainesville at 7:30 p.m.