CONYERS -- Dedrick Turner sure picked a good time to get hot. The junior guard for Salem scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as Salem defeated county rival Heritage 59-45 Tuesday in Region 8-AAAA play.
Turner was held scoreless in the third quarter, but had a layup off a feed from Jamaal Garror and a dunk that helped the Seminoles go up five points midway through the fourth. Heritage got to within 46-43 on a put back by Mark Wilkerson, but got no closer as Turner took over. He followed a layup with a steal and dunk to push the hosts' margin to 50-43, and he added three free throws, part of an 11-0 run that put the game away.
"He finally just started being aggressive, he sometimes thinks too much," Salem coach Darren Wilkins said of Turner.
The Seminoles' defense also came up big in the final period, forcing six of Heritage's 19 turnovers, including Caneshe Green's swipe, which led to the guard picking up the final two of his 12 points with a minute to play.
"Turnover after turnover after turnover," Heritage coach Drew Williams said. "Turnovers killed us. I think we get frustrated a little bit, forcing the issue."
Heritage trailed by five at halftime, but scored the first six points of the third to take its first lead at 28-27. It didn't last long as the Seminoles' second unit, led by guard Ahmad Mitchell, scored 10 of the next 11 to make it 37-29 after a tip-in by Jared Brockman at the 2:11 mark. Heritage made one final run, starting the fourth on a 7-2 spurt, which cut the deficit to two points before Wilkerson's bucket gave the visitors brief hope.
"We got a lot of fight in us (but) we just don't have a guy who can score," Williams said of his team, which scored only 13 second-half points. "I just don't have an answer."
"It's a good region win, we knew (Heritage would) come in and play hard, they came and fought hard," Wilkins said. "It was good to get a region win but we've got to start playing better."
Salem can start Friday in Athens when it vistas Cedar Shoals, while Heritage, which was led Tuesday by Steven Everson (15 points) stays in Conyers to host Loganville.