The basketball teams from Heritage and Salem were just five points apart early in the fourth quarter Monday.
But that was as close as the two rivals got in Heritage’s 76-58 victory in Region 8-AAAAA play.
Salem pulled to within 55-50 on a three-point play by Kristopher Bridgeman 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. Heritage, which had led since early in the second, scored eight of the next nine points and grabbed control again at 63-51 on a bucket by Isaiah Banks at the 4:46 mark.
Banks, who finished with 12 points, had a put back to give the Patriots a 52-39 lead with three minutes to play in the third, but Salem fought back.
Demyon Greenwood had a put back to start the Seminoles on a quick, 8-0 run that made it a 52-47 game with 1:20 remaining in the third. Terrell Rainey contributed a free throw and a lay up, part of Rainey’s 14-point night, and the Patriots were up 55-47 heading into the final period.
Heritage built a halftime lead on the strength of a solid stretch midway through the second quarter.
Greenwood, who was saddled with two early fouls, checked back into the game at the 5:25 mark of the second and immediately had a put back to get Salem to within 25-21.
The visiting Patriots scored the next nine points, which included a 3-pointer from Jadarius Smith, and led 34-21 at the 2:52 mark.
Salem stayed close, thanks to Greenwood. He had a bucket and a three-point play, and Quintavius Byrd’s runner helped cut Heritage’s lead to 36-30 with 20 seconds to play before the Patriots got a put back from Rashad Jones to go into the locker room up 38-30.
Salem had just one field goal through the first six minuets of the game, allowing Heritage to take an early 11-3 lead.
Led by Bridgeman, who led all scorers with 16 points, the Seminoles finally got going. Bridgeman scored six consecutive Salem points, highlighted by a nice ball fake and lay up that cut the Patriots’ cushion to 13-11 late in the opening quarter.
Salem took its last lead at 15-14 thirty seconds into the second quarter on a bucket by Byrd. Rainey followed with a put back and Jones, who led the Patriots with 15 points, had a three-point play that helped Heritage go up for good.
Heritage had three put backs and Jones’ three-point play early in the second to go up 25-19 with 5:25 to play until halftime.
Greenwood and Byrd both had 11 points to help pace Salem.