McDONOUGH - The Heritage boys basketball team has made remarkable strides in Ron Bradley's first season as coach, but the Patriots still have a ways to go before they can start competing with the top teams in the state.
That much was evident when Heritage lost 69-53 to the Mundy's Mill on Friday night in the boys championship game at the Henry County Classic. Mundy's Mill entered the game ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAA in the latest gasports.com poll.
"If there's anybody any better (than Mundy's Mill), I'd want to see them. They're a good basketball team," Heritage coach Ron Bradley said. "We've got to get better, we've got to go to work, we're not good enough yet. If we're going to beat people like that, we've got to get better. When your not accustomed to winning you've got to build habitsm, and we're trying to build good habits right now."
Heritage's Shakeem Mitchell scored on the Patriots' first possession. However, the Tigers quickly put the Patriots on the ropes, jumping to an 11-2 lead.
Mundy's Mill continued to build its lead through the second period. Halfway through the second frame, the Tigers were leading 32-17 before Heritage came charging back.
The Patriots sliced the Tigers' lead to single digits before their momentum came to a screeching halt.
"There was one critical play when we had a chance to get to single digits, but they called an offensive foul instead of a block and we never recovered," Bradley said. "That's the way this game is sometimes."
Mundy's Mill built its lead back to 15, at 40-25, by the end the first half.
Both teams added 15 points to their tally in the third before the Patriots outscored their opponent 19-16 in the final frame.
Besides the shooting of the Tigers' Todd Salter, who led all scorers with 25 points, Heritage also had difficulty stopping 6-foot-9 center Dennis Allen, who has committed to LSU.
Allen scored 21 points, but more importantly, kept Heritage off the glass.
"That 6-9 guy gave us fits. Justin (Jones), nor our forwards could rebound at all," Bradley said. "They're just awful strong."
Mitchell, who was named to the all-tournament team along with Jones, paced Heritage with 20 points followed by Key Wade (15) and Juron Dobbs (10).
"(Mitchell) gave us a good effort. We're still trying to put it together, we haven't put it together yet," Bradley said. "You just don't build habits over night. We're still trying to build good habits."
Chapel Hill 69, Alcovy 37
Alex Tucker and Malacco Ivey did all they could scoring 30 of Alcovy's 39 points in the seventh-place game against Chapel Hill in the Henry County Classic on Friday.
Tucker led the Lady Tigers with 16 points, while Ivey scored 14.
Despite losing all three games of Classic, Alcovy's bright spot was having freshman Lisa Kossally named to the all-tournament team.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.