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Heritage cleans house on Senior Night

CONYERS - Both the Loganville girls and boys squads scored 57 points apiece Tuesday evening. But Heritage scored 66 and 63, respectively, sweeping a home subregion matchup on Senior Night.

The Lady Patriots (13-9 overall, 4-3 in 8-AAAA South) kicked off the evening with a 66-57 win, splitting the regular season series with the Lady Red Devils.

Meanwhile, the Heritage boys (16-7, 5-2) completed their season sweep over Loganville 63-57.

Despite squandering a 21-point halftime advantage - reduced to a one-point margin with 1:28 left in the game - the Lady Patriots prevailed in the end.

In the second half alone, the Lady Red Devils scored 17 points off 10 turnovers.

However, in the first half, Heritage dominated, outscoring Loganville 46-25 and winning the battle on the boards 21-4.

But the Lady Red Devils went on a 15-4 run in the third quarter to close the gap.

"I think that what happened there is Loganville got a wake-up call - they could not believe what was happening and they just outhustled us," Heritage coach Dave LaBarrie said.

The Lady Patriots snapped out of it in the fourth quarter by tallying 16 points, 10 from the free-throw line.

With 1:28 left in the game, Loganville's Morgan Staffins picked a good time to score her only basket - a 3-pointer - to close the deficit 58-57.

Up by just one, Heritage responded by going on an 8-0 run at the charity stripe. After forcing their first turnover with just 42 seconds remaining, the Lady Patriots forced two more, leading to five points.

Heritage's Zaneta Gray scored a team-high 21 points. Jasmine Middlebrooks added 16, while Sarah Herrington contributed 15.

Combined, the trio of seniors accounted for 79 percent of their team's overall scoring.

"This is a special (senior) group," LaBarrie said. "Tonight, I'm glad we had a big lead, lost it and still were able to hold on, because that's the way we're going to have to do it in the playoffs if we're going to get to the state tournament."

In the boys game, after posting 87 points Saturday, Loganville was held to 30 fewer in its second loss to Heritage this season.

"We felt like if Loganville came over here and they were hot, we (could) be in trouble," Heritage coach Ron Bradley said. "They can really stroke it."

The Red Devils led 8-0 with 5:30 left in the first after a 3-pointer by Ryan Boulter, his second of the opening quarter.

Heritage responded with eight straight points, the latter three coming by way of a Shakeem Mitchell trey.

A hanging jumper by Garry Peters made it 12-11 Loganville to close the quarter.

Neither team budged in the following eight minutes after each scored 17 points apiece.

Down 29-28 entering the third period, Heritage soon tied it at 32 after a field goal by Mitchell. The Patriots then took a 38-32 lead with 2:55 left after consecutive 3-pointers by Miles Harris.

They never trailed again.

"We're shuffling a lot of people and trying to find the combination that can stay in control and do what we want them to do," Bradley said. "The guys seemed to want to win it, and that's the big thing. We've had some sickness and didn't know what we were going to face tonight.

"We were scared that we weren't going to have enough energy, so we were just thrilled to win."

Despite allowing 21 points in the fourth, Heritage responded with 24 thanks to 11 points by Peters, including three treys.

"Coach (Bradley) was getting on me in the first three quarters," Peters said. "I felt like I wasn't playing good enough, so in the fourth quarter I stepped up and knocked a couple big shots down because my teammates got me the rock."

A 3-pointer by Boulter made it 56-55 before a tip-in by Justin Jones, which hung on the rim before finally dropping, extended the lead.

Mitchell ended with a team-high 17 points and five rebounds. Peters added 15 and 11, while Jones had 14 points, 23 boards and six blocked shots.

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.