Patriots capture PSC Holiday Classic title

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by Brian Bohne

HERITAGE HILLS 78 SOUTH SPENCER 53

The Heritage Hills boys basketball team celebrated Christmas on December 25. Four days later, they celebrated again. The latter was a victory celebration against county rival South Spencer. The Class 3A, No. 4 ranked Patriots lit up the scoreboard like lights on Christmas tree in the pivotal second quarter en route to a 78-53 victory over the host Rebels in the opening round of the PSC Holiday Classic on December 29 in Reo.

Heritage Hills coach Nate Hawkins was pretty pleased with his squad’s performance in their first game after the festive holiday.

“It’s only been a week since we played Charlestown [on December 22], but it seems like forever because of all the Christmas stuff going on. With that said, I thought we looked pretty sharp,” confirmed the Patriot boss. “Once we got going, I was real happy with our play.”

South Spencer coach Aaron Thompson also liked the way his team started the game.

“We’ve had some slow starts this season, so we really challenged the kids, and I thought they showed a lot of pride,” said the Rebel first-year bench leader. “We played a big opponent, came out, fought hard and responded well in the first quarter.”

That they did.

In fact, the Rebels led twice late in the opening stanza, 10-9 and 12-11. Then the game turned. After the Patriots used a bucket in transition by junior Colten Hopf to grab a 13-12 lead by the end of the opening stanza, Heritage Hills exploded for 28 points in the second quarter. All told, the Patriots outscored the Rebels 28-11 during the eight-minute stretch.

Hawkins felt the pace of the game in which his team played during the second quarter was what turned the tide.

“When we attacked, pushed the ball and got going in transition, we looked really good,” explained Hawkins. “We kept saying, ‘let’s go, push it, push it.’ I felt like that’s what we did in that second quarter and it really made a difference.”

His counterpart felt two things were the key during the pivotal stretch.

“One-hundred percentage, the second quarter was the difference. We took a couple of bad shots and didn’t get back on defense,” said Thompson. “That changed the momentum in a hurry.”

So did the play of Trent Sisley. The Patriots’ standout junior finished with 30 points, including five three-pointers.He nailed three of those from beyond the arc in the first half to stake his team to a 41-23 lead at the intermission.

“Trent shot the ball extremely well, probably the best he’s shot it all season,” said Hawkins.

Read more on this story in this week’s issue of the Spencer County Leader!