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Heritage squads chalk up impressive wins

CONYERS - The Heritage basketball teams took care of business Saturday against Alpharetta with both teams registering convincing wins.

Solid guard play propelled the Lady Patriots to a 55-19 win, while the boys used a 22-0 run and a heavy dose of Juron Dobbs to cruise to an 84-61 victory.

The Lady Patriots (6-2) started out sluggish but managed to build a 10-5 advantage at the end of the first period.

Junior guard Sarah Herrington came out firing early in the second quarter, hitting three straight buckets, including a 3-pointer, to spark a 10-2 run and give Heritage a 20-7 lead.

Up by 19 at the half, the Lady Patriots never let off the accelerator.

The Lady Raiders came out determined to claw their way back into the game and started the second half on a 5-2 run.

But Neice Lewis turned up the heat as she scored 12 of her game-high 15 points over the final quarter and a half.

"We are getting there. We are working on our game," Heritage girls coach Dave LaBarrie said. "We spent a lot of time working on stuff today because we get into a major tournament around Christmas and there are big-time teams, and we have to get ready to not get pulverized."

Jasmine Middlebrooks had a nice game off the bench, recording four assists and three steals to go along with four points.

LaBarrie rested his starters with just more than three minutes remaining as the Lady Patriots had the game well in hand.

Lewis' 15 points led the way while Herrington finished with nine, followed by Zeneta Gray (9) and Precious Elkins (6).

In the boys game, the Raiders went toe-to-toe with the Patriots for the first 12 minutes of the game.

Heritage (6-2) led 16-12 at the end of the first period as head coach Ron Bradley took a conservative approach to the unfamiliar opponent.

"This time of year, you really don't know anything about the people you're playing, so you have to sort of figure out what they're doing so you can figure out what you are going to do," Bradley said. "You don't want to go out there and get in foul trouble right off, so we started off easy, trying to ease into what we wanted to do, and once we got into a higher gear, it sort of fell into place for us."

In the early going, Alpharetta never let the Patriots stray too far away as they tied the game three times in the second quarter.

Alpharetta's Zane Hassan scored eight quick points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. But with the score knotted up 26-26, Heritage guard Shakeem Mitchell answered with two treys of his own as he sparked a 9-0 run to close out the half.

The offense was clicking to start the second half as the Patriots came out strong and continued to work the ball around.

The Patriots scored the first 13 points of the third period to cap off a 22-0 run that extended from the end of the first half.

Heritage's starting five shared the ball well as every one of them scored during the run. Justin Jones scored 11 points in the quarter, including a nice two-handed dunk off a beautifully executed pick and roll.

"Right now we've got good chemistry with those guys (starting five). We're all new with each other, and we're trying to figure out who else we can blend in," Bradley said. "We think right now it's more important that they know each other than to run nine or 10 people out there on the floor."

Heritage entered the fourth quarter up by 19 and Alpharetta was never able to mount a serious charge.

Bradley made sure to get his reserves some game experience as he brought out his starters at the 3:08 mark and let them enjoy the rest of the evening from the bench.

Juron Dobbs had his second straight 20-point game, registering 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead the Patriots. Jones, too, recorded a double-double, finishing the game with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Mitchell finished with 16 points followed by Key Wade (14) and Blake Craft (7).

On Friday night, the Heritage boys hammered Habersham Central 67-41 on the strength of 26 points from Dobbs and 20 rebounds from Jones at Mt. Airy.

The Patriots led 31-21 at halftime en route to the easy road victory. Both Jones and Key Wade added 11 points, while Mitchell chipped in 10.