CONYERS - The Heritage basketball teams held serve on their home floor against county rival Rockdale in Region 8-AAAA South play Friday night.
In the boys game, the Patriots (11-5 overall, 1-1 in 8-AAAA South) built a 21-point lead in the first half and then held off a Rockdale surge in the second half to claim a 75-61 victory over the Bulldogs (8-5, 1-1).
The Lady Patriots (11-4, 2-0) seized control of their game in the first quarter, building an 11-point lead and never looking back in a 56-38 decision over the Lady Bulldogs (4-9, 0-2).
In fact, both Heritage teams started their games with 17-4 runs.
In the boys game, Shakeem Mitchell and Justin Jones ignited the Patriots and the crowd with a pair of thunderous dunks during the run. Mitchell, who scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter, also buried a pair of 3-pointers in the opening period.
Key Wade's three-point play capped off a strong first period, giving Heritage a 25-9 lead.
In the second quarter, the Patriots extended their advantage to 43-22 as the Bulldogs struggled to get their offense on track.
But, in the third quarter, Rockdale finally got things going. Ryan Watts scored all nine of his points in the period as the Bulldogs methodically began to whittle down the Heritage lead.
Ryan Culbreath's layup at the end of the third frame sliced the Patriots' lead to 55-43.
In fact, Rockdale crept to within seven points, at 68-61, on Darius McKnight's strong move in the paint with 2:04 remaining.
But Heritage made seven free throws in the final 1:54 to seal the victory.
Juron Dobbs added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Patriots. Wade added 14 points and Blake Craft chipped in 12, including a 9-for-11 effort from the foul line in the second half.
McKnight paced Rockdale by scoring 14 of his team-high 15 points in the second half. He also collected 10 rebounds.
Heritage girls 56, Rockdale girls 38
The Lady Patriots set the tone for the evening by racing out to a 17-4 lead in their first quarter. Precious Elkins and Niecey Lewis combined for 12 of the 17 points.
In the second quarter, Heritage battled foul trouble, but was able to maintain its 11-point advantage, taking a 34-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, Sarah Herrington took over for Heritage, scoring six of her team's nine points to increase the lead to 12 heading into the final frame.
Elkins added seven points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Patriots improved to 2-0 in subregion play. Elkins finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Lewis added 12 points for the Lady Patriots, while Herrington chipped in 10.
Porshia Cleveland led Rockdale with 11 points.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.