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By Danya Long
For The Leader
The Lady Hawks hit the court this week after a week and a half long break from games and were ready to compete. With two games on the road, Heritage stepped up against Judah Christian on Dec. 6 and then traveled to Unity on Dec. 8.
The Hawks started the game off strong against Judah Christian and getting on the board first to set the tone. With just under three minutes left in the quarter, Heritage held on to a 10-2 lead over the Tribe. Good offensive rebounding helped the Hawks in the first and ended the first eight minutes with a 12-6 lead.
Junior Desi Westerfield kicked off the second quarter with a layup, and sophomore Micaela Childress added another to lengthen the Hawks’ lead. A jump shot made by junior Cedar Richardson with about six minutes left in the half gave Heritage a 19-6 lead. The aggressiveness of the Heritage team made it difficult for Judah Christian’s offense, causing a lot of missed passes and miscues. Richardson put in a layup for the Hawks with just over a minute left in the half to make the score 26-10. Senior Dallas McCormick added another two points for Heritage right at the buzzer to end the half with a lead of 28-12.
Judah Christian got on the board first in the second half but couldn’t carry that momentum throughout the quarter. Within about a minute and a half of play, Westerfield put up three layups and drained a three-point shot for the Hawks, making the score 37-15 with just over four minutes to play in the quarter. McCormick added her own layup and another three-pointer before the end of the quarter and finished it with a score of 44-17 in favor of the Hawks.
Toward the end of the game, Heritage head coach Kami White subbed in some of her junior varsity players for some experience.
With the help of Westerfield, they scored nine points in the final quarter. The Tribe outscored the Hawks in the last eight minutes but still couldn’t pull out a win. The buzzer sounded and the Hawks came away with a 53-32 victory of Judah Christian.
Coach White attributes some of the team’s success to the rest and to some new aspects they worked into the game.
“We have been working on a new press during the time off,” said White. “It seemed to work pretty well for us. It’s more contained and not really all about trying to steal the ball.”
Westerfield led the Hawks and set a new season high with 17 points in the game. She also added nine rebounds for Heritage. White says that Westerfield will do anything she asks, including “diving on the floor and going to the basket.” She also says that Westerfield is the best vocal leader on the team.
Senior Mary Happ and Richardson contributed 9 and 10 points, respectively.
With just over four minutes left in the first quarter, McCormick hit one of two free throws after being fouled and made the score 10-3 in favor of the Rockets. Heritage struggled on offense, mishandling the ball often and making a lot of turnovers. McCormick and Richardson added another four points before the end of the quarter, but the lead was still in Unity’s hands with a score of 18-7.
The Rockets found the net first in the second quarter, but Heritage junior Jennifer Lannon drained a three-point shot with just over six minutes left in the half to make the score 22-13. Richardson put up a jump shot good for two points and Westerfield made good on one of her two free throws to bring the score to 22-16 with the Rockets on top. With a minute and a half left in the half, Richardson made the last shot for the Hawks and made the score 29-19. Going into the locker room, the score stood at 31-19, and the Rockets maintained a decent lead.
Lannon came up with a steal from the Rockets at the beginning of the second half and got fouled on the layup. After making one of her two shots, the Hawks still trailed the Rockets by 11. Some nice offensive passing around the three and a half minute mark contributed to Richardson’s layup that made the score 37-22. Lannon ended the quarter as well with a three-point shot that ended the quarter at 41-27 in favor of Unity.
McCormick put up four points for the Hawks in the final quarter, including a layup and two free throws in the first three minutes. Happ made the last shot of the game for Heritage with 45 seconds left on the clock and made the score 53-39. The Rockets added more to their lead and ended the game at the buzzer with a final score of 57-39, handing the Hawks a very disappointing loss.
For the Hawks, Richardson and McCormick led the team with eight points each. Westerfield and Lannon both added seven points of their own as well. Happ put up six points in the game and seven rebounds for Heritage.
White admits that early Saturday games can be tough sometimes, but she says that “if [Unity] can come out strong, so can we.”
“We weren’t making smart decisions or running plays correctly. Our passes weren’t good either. And we didn’t capitalize on the stops we got. You can’t win a basketball game if you don’t make baskets, and we weren’t making baskets,” says White.
Heritage hosted the Uni High Illineks on Monday and now are taking a break until they face off against Arthur on Dec. 17 at home.