McDONOUGH - Ron Bradley received an early Christmas present Monday evening.
In a 53-18 blowout over Morgan County in the semifinals of the Henry County Classic, the Heritage legend earned his 1,000th career victory as a head boys basketball coach.
"Everything went right," he said. "It sure is nice to win, and our guys gave a great effort. That was a big win for us as far as our team and program, but you can't help but think about the many thousands of people who've been part of our program for years.
"It's been a long time coming for that many wins, but a lot of people are on my mind and my heart tonight as I think back through the years."
The spectacular feat came fairly easy. After a three-point play by Justin Jones seconds into the game, the Patriots (7-4) kept the lead for good.
In limited action, Jones scored nine of his 13 points in the first quarter to set the tone early. He also recorded a game-high 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.
"Coach Bradley came into our program and immediately turned things around," Jones said. "Playing under somebody like that, you can't help but listen to him. It's just great to know that we have someone like that who's willing to come help us."
Heritage's fate was never in doubt. After taking a commanding 18-5 lead after the opening quarter, the Patriots were up 31-11 at halftime.
They held the Bulldogs scoreless in the third quarter while tallying 16 points, half from Rique Denson, who finished in double figures with 10 points.
Replacing the starters, Bradley looked to his bench to give every player time on the court.
Heritage's Shakeem Mitchell chipped in 13 points.
The Patriots had 24 field goals compared to just six for Morgan County. They also scored 12 points off 18 turnovers.
Overall, Bradley now has 1,353 career victories, including 353 as a girls head coach.
"It is special," Jones said of the coaching milestone. "Coach Bradley's been in it for a long time. I'm just trying my best to contribute to my team as a senior leader and a player."