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By STEPHEN SWISHER
FOR THE LEADER
BROADLANDS—The Heritage Boys basketball team knew they had to execute better than they did last time they played the Bement Bulldogs; a game they barely escaped with a win thanks to a couple last second free throws.
The night of Feb. 5 was a completely different story.
Using great ball movement and good shot selection the Heritage boys cruised to an easy 74-43 victory in front of their home crowd and improved to 14-11 overall.
“If you make shots you look good,” said Heritage head coach Andy Place, “We want to control what we can and we can control shot selection.”
There was no better example of the good shot selection than sophomore guard Chance Lemmon who led all scorers with 18 points, connecting on three from behind the arc to go with his six assists.
“Chance was making it,” said Senior John Taylor, referring to a minor slump Lemmon was in, “he broke loose tonight.”
“Chance played well,” said Coach Place, “he took good care of the ball and improved his shot selection, we told him to keep shooting and they’ll start to go in.”
The game was close for the first few minutes where it seemed neither team could make a basket or really get into their sets. With the scored tied at five apiece and a little over two minutes remaining in the quarter Senior John Taylor put the team on his back and they never looked back. Taylor scored seven points in a little over a minute using his full arsenal of shots.
Taylor began his mini run by grabbing an offensive rebound and getting the put back. The very next possession he caught the ball on the right elbow chipped in a nice turnaround jump shot. The icing on the cake was a corner three that gave the Hawks a 12-5 advantage.
“Bement ran us close last time, we knew we were good and felt like we could win on our home court,” said Taylor who was second among scorers with 17 points and also crashed the glass with eight boards, “we brought it to them.”
By halftime the score was 42-17 in favor of the Heritage Hawks.
The second half was much of the same for both teams. The Hawks kept on using great ball movement to get each other open and the Bement Bulldogs never seemed able to get into a rhythm.
“They executed offensively, ran the floor, rebounded and shot the ball well” said Bement’s Coach Kraig Rogers, who was missing one of his starters due to school disciplinary issues.
“That really caused us problems handling the ball and running offense,” said Coach Rogers on missing one of his guys, “Most of the offensive game plan was not going to be very effective because I had to move guys around. That left us running offensive sets that Coach Place has a good handle on defending.”
One of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs was Junior Guard Steve Isbell, who scored a team high 14 points and did all he could to get his team back in the ball game.
The last time these two teams played in January, the Bement Bulldogs used a stifling zone defense that the Heritage Hawks were not ready for and almost paid for with a loss.
“Defensively last game we played a variation of a 2- 3 zone and matched up a bit.” Said Coach Rogers, “We had planned to play that along with some 1- 3- 1 zone trap to try and keep them off balance but we fell behind so quickly that we had to just play man to man.
“They hounded us in the post,” said Lemmon,” but tonight coach got us ready for the 2-3 zone defense.”
“All we did was work to improve on our concepts,” said coach Place, “we are skilled and just need to work on the whole game and getting a better rhythm.”
If tonight is an indicator of what coach Place is looking for in his team, then the 3rd ranked team in the conference seems to be coming together at the right time.
“Coach is a huge part of our success, “said Taylor, “we love him and the whole staff.”