FLOWERY BRANCH -- It was another disheartening loss for the Heritage boys basketball team Tuesday in Hall County.
Nick Wayne scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, and Jaleel Bailey hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with just more than a minute to play as Flowery Branch came back to beat Heritage 48-44 in a Region 8-AAAAA game at Flowery Branch.
While the Falcons improved to 5-10 in league play, Heritage dropped its 10th consecutive game and fell to 3-11. The last Patriots win was Dec. 29 against Jefferson.
The Patriots led by as many as 10 points, and with 6:39 left still held a seven-point advantage at 40-33 when Eric McIver (team highs with 11 points and 12 rebounds) scored off a beautiful feed from Rashad Jones.
Wayne answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and though Terrell Flowers got the last of his three fourth-quarter field goals, Wayne drained another 3 to make it 42-40.
Jamaad Stephens had a huge blocked shot at the other end, then a layup by Bailey capped a 9-2 spurt and pulled the Falcons even at 42-42 with just less than three minutes to go.
McIver was fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound and hit both free throws to briefly give Heritage the lead back at 44-42. But after faking a pass from the top of the key, Bailey calmly knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer to give Flowery Branch its first lead since 5-3.
After a Heritage timeout, McIver was whistled for an offensive foul. At the other end, the Patriots fouled to try to get Flowery Branch in the bonus, and after four fouls were called over the next 35 seconds, Bailey hit 1 of 2 from the line and Wayne hit both of his free throws to help the Falcons escape.
The Patriots got points from eight different players and used a big second quarter run to go into the locker room with a lead. It was just a two-point cushion after one quarter, but Heritage got consecutive 3-pointers from Steven Everson and Dave Rowe, and later Everson fed Jones for a bucket, part of a 10-2 run that give the visitors their largest lead at 24-14.
Flowery Branch stayed close and a three-point play by Stephens, part of the senior's eight-point first half, helped the Falcons pull to within 26-19 at the break.
Heritage led 14-12 after the opening quarter and had a lead as large as six points on a 3-pointer by Ryien Bonner at the 3:44 mark.
Bonner was one of three new starters in the Heritage lineup, along with Kristopher Bridgeman and Darrius Dalton. The trio combined for nine of the Patriots' 14 first-quarter points.
Heritage wraps up its regular season Friday when it hosts Apalachee at 8:30 p.m.Salem boys, girls beat ApalacheeThe Salem basketball teams swept Apalachee on Tuesday in Region 8-AAAAA. The girls led 44-13 at halftime and rolled to their fourth consecutive win in the opener, thanks to 28 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore Ayanna Mitchell.
Jennifer Tindi added 16 points and Shay Tarver had 11 points and five assists for Salem, which shot 52 percent (29 of 56) from the field and moved to 9-6 in league play.
The boys also won their fourth consecutive game and improved to 10-5 in league play, taking the nightcap 72-64 behind 22 points from Dedrick Turner and Jamaal Garror's 19 points.
Salem wraps up the regular season with a trip to Gainesville on Friday, beginning with the girls game at 7 p.m.