The Heritage boy’s basketball team nearly saw its 21-point lead disappear Saturday, but the Patriots had enough to hang on against their rival.
Terrell Rainey scored 14 points to lead four in double figures and Heritage defeated Rockdale 71-66 in non-region play.
Heritage led my as much as 47-26 late in the second quarter, and the hosts still held a 60-43 advantage heading into the final period. That’s when Rockdale, and in particular Darryl Tucker, came alive.
Connor Ferrell, who led all scorers with 22 points, had a lay up and a 3-pointer, the last of which followed Jalen Jordan’s 3-pointer, and got the Bulldogs to within 62-53 with five minutes remaining.
Heritage went more than four minutes without a field goal and Rockdale kept chipping away. Jordan drained another 3-pointer, and though Ferrel fouled out at the 2:28 mark, Tucker was busy scoring 10 of his 12 points in a four-minute stretch, including a steal and lay up that made it a 65-62 game with one minute left.
The Patriots got out in transition after Tucker’s make and Andre Harris fed Rainey for a lay up and Harris got a lay up of his own to give the Patriots breathing room again at 69-62 with 34 seconds to play.
Midway through the second Rockdale had gotten to within 34-22, thanks to a 3-pointer - the Bulldogs’ first field goal in over seven minutes - and a nice lay up in transition by Ferrell at the 4:12 mark of the second.
Heritage answered with a 10-2 run and went up 44-24 on a free throw by Trevor Campbell (11 points) with 1:25 to go.
Derreon Johnson knocked down a pair of free throws to inch Rockdale closer at 19-16 late in the first, but Heritage had an extended run to build a double-digit cushion.
The highlight during a 15-0 spurt was Rainey’s three-point play, part of a 10-point first half for Rainey, that made it a 30-16 game less than a minute into the second. Later, Campbell’s bucket made it 34-16 with 5:14 to play until halftime.
Byron Abrams added 13 points and Rashad Jones, 10 for Heritage, which beat Rockdale at home for the second consecutive season. The Bulldogs also got 17 points from Jordan.
Sojourner Hall (15 points, nine rebounds) and Brianna Patton (13 points) sparked the Rockdale girls to a 43-21 win over Heritage in the first game of the day.
Rockdale turned a 15-point halftime cushion into a lead that reached 25 with a minute to play.
Heritage went nearly nine minutes in the second half without a point, the second long offensive drought of the day for the hosts. Destiny Martin’s steal and lay up was the Patriots’ only points of the third quarter, while a field goal by Patton helped Rockdale build a 33-13 advantage heading into the final period.
Martin had a bucket a minute and a half into the fourth, Heritage’s first points since the 7:17 mark of the third, but Patton had six more points during a two-minute stretch and Rockdale led 39-15.
While Heritage had its first rough offensive stretch, going more than eight minutes without a field goal, the visiting Bulldogs built a double-digit halftime cushion.
Rockdale scored the first 11 points of the second - Hall picked up seven as part of an 11-point half for the forward - and led 25-8 at the 2:14 mark.
The Patriots finally knocked down a second quarter shot as Alexis Hawkins hit her second long-range jumper of the half, this one just inside the three-point line, to get the Patriots to within 25-11 with just under one minute until the break.
Rockdale forced 11 of Heritage’s 21 first-half turnovers in the opening quarter, using a number of steals to pick up fast break points. Patton had three steals in the period, which each led to a bucket at the other end, including Hall’s rebounding of her own miss for a bucket that made it a 14-7 game heading to the second.
Damali Thomas led the Heritage girls with eight points.