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PREP BASKETBALL: Alcovy's Jaylen Williams' big game wasn't enough against Heritage
Alcovy's Jaylen Williams tries to blow by a Heritage defender in Saturday's region loss to the Patriots. - photo by Anthony Banks

CONYERS, Ga. — In a game that only saw one lead change and one tie, the Heritage Patriots boys demolished the Alcovy Tigers 89-68 on Saturday afternoon behind junior guards Josh Guilford and TreLan Scott’s 19-point night. 

The Tigers scored the first two points on a layup in the first minute of the game. But that was that last time they’d see anything close to a lead. Guilford answered back with a layup of his own to tie the game. Immediately after a lost possession for Alcovy, he came back down the court hit a corner three. Right after that, Scott followed suit with a three-ball of his own from the top of the key, to give the Patriots an 8-2 lead. 

Head coach Vernon Denmark said that the game plan was to play defense and his team did that as Heritage jumped out to a 15-point lead to end the first quarter. 23-8. 

“We’re trying to play defense, trying to make sure that we guard well and rebound the ball,” he said. 

Alcovy tried to ramp up its intensity coming into the second half as Dray Middlebrooks hit a corner three to bring the Tigers’ point total into double digits.  

For every shot the Tigers put up, the Patriots would sink two more. Circus shots and baseline layups spelled the game for Heritage as it continued to slice through Alcovy’s defense at will. 

Heritage went on a 13-5 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter after Scott connected on a floater for two to increase the Patriots’  lead to 38-16, their largest of the game.

Jon Best jumped in the air and grabbed a missed free throw from Josh Archer for a put back layup to add to the 41-19 rout. After a turnover from the Tigers, Ryan Clements caught the ball at the top of the key and leaped through the air for a monstrous dunk to end the half, 45-23.

Even with a 22-point lead heading into the locker room, it still wasn’t enough for Denmark. 

“We talked about making a few adjustments offensively,” he said.  “I didn’t felt like we were the most patient on offense and we needed more shots in transition.”

That resonated well with the team. The shots in transition came quickly after the third quarter started and the Patriots became smarter on offense. 

Guilford caught the ball at half-court after a rebound by JaQuez Hicks, who also had two huge blocks, waited for the offense to set up and laid the ball right in. At the 4:50 mark, Clements threw down an emphatic dunk to crack the game at 50-29. 

The end of the game ended in an unorthodox way. After a series of ‘no-calls’ for the Tigers, the crowd erupted in displeasure, and a referee issued a bench warning to the scoring table. 

“Who?! Who did it?” Hardwick yelled running after the referee.

“Everybody!” the referee said motioning to the bench and the stands. Hardwick expressed his disapproval and the ref issued a technical foul on him. Hardwick found himself on the bench shaking his head as Adrian Boykin sank both free throws. He finished the game with 11 points. 

The lead never dropped past 20 points as Heritage cruised to a win. 

Junior Jaylen Williams had a 23-point effort in the loss and Kevon Simms added 10 points for the Tigers. Besides Scott and Guilford’s 19-point night, Clements tallied 14 points for Heritage. 

Heritage moves to 11-7 overall and a perfect 8-0 in Region 3-AAAAAA while riding a six-game winning streak. The Patriots will prepare for senior night on Tuesday against Lakeside.

After an inspiring Tigers win at Greenbrier Friday where AJ Paschal poured in 20 points, the Tigers couldn’t capitalize, falling to 8-13 overall and 3-5 in region play where they sit in a three-way tie with Grovetown and Evans for third place.  

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They’ll take on Evans at home on Tuesday night and then finish the regular season at Lakeside and at Eastside on Friday and Saturday.