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Clanton saves Eagles with buzzer-beater

COVINGTON - Artis Clanton scored 13 points against Heritage on Tuesday, but his biggest basket was a two-footer with 2.3 seconds left to play, giving the Eagles a 54-53 win.

"I knew he could be a major factor for us. He did what his God-given talents have given him - leaping ability," Eastside boys coach Michael Gerald said. We were fortunate that we came out with a big win."

Eastside (9-6 overall, 1-0 in 8-AAAA South) led for most of the game before giving up a 10-point lead with 4:48 left to play.

Heritage's Justin Jones helped the Patriots (10-5, 0-1) grab the lead. Heritage jumped out to a 47-41 advantage after a 16-0 run with 3:05 remaining in the game.

Heritage built its lead to eight points, 51-43, before Neal Latimore hit a free throw and came back to sink a basket with 1:15 remaining.

After Jones made 1 of 2 from the free-throw line, Cameron Robinson made two 3-pointers to tie the game with 12 seconds left.

"We talk to these kids about being mentally tough," Gerald said. "We tell them that sometimes you have to create your time. When it's your time, you have to seize it."

Heritage retook the lead when Key Wade hit 1 of 2 from the line, giving Eastside the chance to win the game.

"We messed around at the end. If you don't make free throws at the end, you can't win close games," Heritage boys coach Ron Bradley said. "We're 0-1, we're at the bottom of the (subregion) right now. It's one of those games on the road that you have to win if you expect to be at the top. If not, you won't be there. We'll find out what our character is before long."

Juron Dobbs led the Patriots with 12 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Wade and Jones with 11 points each.

Latimore added points for the Eagles.

"We had Neal Latimore come off the bench in the first half and he hit some big shots for us," Gerald said. "We told the kids that you have to win on your turf. You have to take care of that because when you go to someone else's floor you'll have to play extremely hard if you want to come out of there with the win."

Lady Patriots 52, Lady Eagles 38

The Eastside girls (5-9, 0-1) stayed within striking distance of the Lady Patriots (10-4, 1-0) in the first half before Heritage proved too much for the Lady Eagles on Tuesday as Heritage beat Eastside 52-38.

"The early turnovers is what hurt us. If we hadn't turned the ball over early, then Eastside wouldn't even be in the game," Heritage coach Dave LaBarrie said. "Once you let a team stay in the game, they start to get more and more confidence and they start hitting some shots."

Eastside took a 6-5 lead midway through the first period when Ashley Burtts made Eastside's first field goal of the game.

Burtts, who paced the Lady Eagles with 15 points, was forced to ride the bench after committing her third foul with 1:50 left in the opening frame.

"That's a couple games in a row she's gotten into foul trouble. I thought she had a real good second half," Eastside coach Jason Grooms said.

The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 13-9 lead to start the second quarter before Heritage took a 14-13 lead. The teams exchanged the lead until Neice Lewis, who led all scorers with 17 points, put the Lady Patriots in the lead for good as they took a 27-24 halftime lead.

In the second half, Heritage began to pull away. The Lady Patriots led 41-28 before Burtts scored the final four points of the third quarter.

Eastside closed the gap to 43-37, but Heritage fought back the Lady Eagles' surge and outscored them 9-1 in the final half of the fourth period.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.