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Girls basketball: Heritage keeps rolling
Heritage keeps rolling
The Hurricanes overpower Wilson to earn a Group AAA state quarterfinal berth.
BY TRIS WYKES | Correspondent
PORTSMOUTH — Leading by seven points at halftime Thursday during an Eastern Region semifinal at Churchland High, the Heritage High girls basketball team figured the best was yet to come.
That’s because the Hurricanes led despite making just three of their first 11 field goals against Wilson and committing turnovers at junctures when they could have significantly expanded their lead.
“We were missing layups and turning the ball over and not rebounding,’’ Heritage coach Michael Gardner said. “But our kids are resilient. They bent a bit tonight, but they never broke.’’
It was the Presidents whose hopes were eventually shattered with a 56-35 loss. The result qualifies Heritage (24-2) for Monday’s 6 p.m. region final at Churchland against the winner of Friday’s Lake Taylor-Princess Anne region semifinal. The Hurricanes also earned a berth in the upcoming state playoff quarterfinals.
“We just got beat by a better team,’’ said Wilson coach Roger Smith, whose team lost in the region semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. “Their strength is down low and they went to their money people.’’
Those would be center Bonae Holston and forward Sonia Johnson, a pair of seniors who eventually wore the Presidents down. Johnson finished with a game-high 20 points, 14 in the second half, and Holston added 10 points while banging bodies throughout the game.
The Hurricanes’ superiority in the paint was evident even before the game if one compared heights and season statistics, but Heritage couldn’t take advantage during the first half. Fortunately, Wilson (23-5) had plenty of its own self-inflicted wounds to try to heal.
The Presidents, who shared the Eastern District title with Lake Taylor and won the district tournament, have built a reputation as a scrappy and physical program that often dictates play to its opponents. But Thursday, Wilson made just six of 20 first-half field goals and found itself battling a foe every bit as tough.
“We can handle that; our kids don’t back down,’’ Gardner said. “We knew Wilson was going to be physical, but so is almost any team at this stage. That’s playoff ball.’’
The Presidents also hurt themselves by making only seven of 13 free throws and committing 10 turnovers in the first half. Star forward JoNiqua Guilford, headed to Old Dominion next season, could manage only five points on 1-for-7 shooting from the floor before intermission.
Heritage led 27-20 at the break and 38-29 after three quarters, which is about when Wilson collapsed. After a Guilford 3-point shot closed the Presidents’ third-quarter scoring with a minute left in the stanza, her team was shut out for the next eight minutes during a 15-0 Heritage run.
“In the first half we had some success grabbing rebounds and scoring in transition,’’ Smith said.
“But we couldn’t do that in the second half because they dominated the boards.’’
Shakiyla Finney led Wilson with 10 points while Kendra Powell had nine and Guilford eight.
The latter entered the contest averaging 20.5 points per game. Contributors for Heritage included Evany Dickerson with nine points, Indy Hauser with eight and Brittany Thorpe with four.
Should the Hurricanes face Princess Anne in Monday’s final, it will be a rematch of the teams’ clash in a Dec. 29 Philadelphia tournament. The Cavaliers (27-0) won that battle 68-50 in the event final.
HERITAGE 56, WILSON 35
WILSON (23-5): Guilford 8, Finney 10, Powell 9, Forrest 6, Parker 2.
HERITAGE (24-2): Hauser 8, Johnson 20, Dickerson 9, Holston 10, Thorpe 4, Lee 3, Robinson 2.
Wilson 11 9 9 6— 35
Heritage 12 15 11 18 — 56
3-point goals — Wilson 2 (Guilford, Finney), Heritage 2 (Dickerson, Hauser).
Last edited by kennedy : 02-28-2008 at 11:58 PM.