McDONOUGH - The Heritage boys basketball team picked up its first win of the Henry County Classic on Friday night, taking a 60-50 victory over Eagle's Landing in the first round.
But the 10-point win wasn't as easy as the final score might have indicated.
The Patriots struggled early to stop the shooting of Eagle's Landing guard Jamie Vaughn.
Vaughn scored 13 of his team's 16 first-quarter points. It took a 3-pointer from Blake Craft in the final seconds of the first frame to cut the Eagle's Landing lead to three at 16-13.
The Patriots tightened up their defense in the second quarter, and Eagle's Landing went on a scoreless streak for the first 4:46 of the second frame.
Meanwhile, Heritage received five strong points in the paint from Justin Jones, and the Patriots led 24-21 at the break.
Heritage's offense followed suit in the third quarter and started hitting shots. Shakeem Mitchell's 3-pointer put the Patriots up 36-26 with 3:45 left in the third quarter. Mitchell's one-handed jam with two minutes left gave Heritage its biggest lead of the game at 40-26.
However, the fourth quarter was not as nice to the Patriots. Eagle's Landing pulled within nine points at 52-43 with 2:30 left to play.
But the Patriots were able to hold off the charge and collect a modest 10-point victory.
After scoring 13 points in the opening quarter, Heritage coach Ron Bradley put Key Wade on Vaughn, who then scored just five points in the second and third quarters.
"Key did a good job of slowing him (Vaughn) up a little. The main thing was that we got our offense going," Bradley said. "We played pretty good the second quarter, and I thought we had a great third quarter. We had something like 12 assists in the second half, which meant somebody was doing something. They made some great passes. We made some mistakes late that were just careless, and we're going to get better with that. Overall, I thought it was a real good effort and it was a good win for us."
The Patriots were led by Juron Dobbs' 16-point effort. Jones and Mitchell each added 15 points, while Craft chipped in nine.
"All of the guys did something," Bradley said. "Either they were passing the ball, handling the ball, shooting the ball or rebounding. I thought our whole team had to play, and they did a good job."
With the win, the Patriots moved to 8-3 on the season. They play again in the second round of the tournament at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Winder-Barrow.
Brandon Evans can be reached at email@example.com.