Heritage boys, girls both victors at Morrow

CONYERS - Heritage's basketball teams had a solid start to the 2007 season, collecting a sweep of Morrow on Wednesday night.

The Lady Patriots won 51-45 in the opener, while the Heritage boys won 67-60 in the nightcap.

The boy's game was the Heritage debut of coaching legend Ron Bradley - and it was a successful one.

The Patriots came out shooting poorly and trailed 8-0 early in the first quarter. Morrow went up 29-19 with 2:00 left in the second quarter.

However, Heritage came out looking like a different team in the second half.

And after an alley-oop from Key Wade to Juron Dobbs, the Patriots only trailed 38-36 at the end of the third period.

Heritage's first lead of the game came with 7:06 left in the game off a traditional three-point play by Justin Jones.

But the rest of the fourth quarter belonged to Dobbs. Dobbs churned out basket after basket on his way to a game-high 23 points, including two more rim-rattling dunks.

Heritage also got key contributions from Shakeem Mitchell, who had 13 points, and Blake Craft, who scored 12. Wade added eight and Jones had nine.

"It was a good win. The guys wanted to win, and they came back in the second half and did it," Bradley said. "I felt like we were playing a little panicky in the first half. We weren't in control, but we came out in the second half and Key Wade and Blake Craft made some great plays for us. Juron Dobbs also did a great job, and we expect a lot out of him.

"I think the players showed a lot of character out there tonight. We could have lost, playing against their (Morrow) crowd on their floor, had our kids not shown that desire to win."

Heritage girls coach Dave Laberrie was also pleased to get the win, even though his team has sustained a pair of problematic injuries early in the season.

Heritage lost starting center Precious Elkins in a preseason scrimmage game. Sylvia Elkins was injured in the win against Morrow. The upside is that neither injury appears to be serious.

Still, it forced Laberrie to do a little bit of shuffling Wednesday night.

"We had a sudden change of in plans," Laberrie said. "We put Jana Dixon in there, and she did a great job, considering we only had a couple of practices to work on it."

Dixon hauled in 16 rebounds on the night.

But the game-changing performance was turned in by Neice Lewis, who scored a team-high 17 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter. Lewis also had seven rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots. Sarah Herrington also had a solid game with 14 points. Sylvia Elkins added eight and Dixon chipped in six.

With the win, the Heritage girls play again at 6 p.m. today. The Heritage boys play again at 7:30 p.m. today. Both games will be held at Morrow.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com.