Heritage Hills improves to 4-0 in PAC playDecember 17, 2019
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — The Heritage Hills girls have not won the Pocket Athletic Conference basketball title since 1996, but they took another step toward ending that drought on Tuesday with a wire-to-wire, 48-21 home win against conference rival Southridge.
“It’s something we’re really hungry for,” Heritage Hills coach Kim Brown said. “It’s one of our goals. It’s been a goal of mine for nine years now. I haven’t achieved it yet. So, every PAC game is huge for us.”
Brown did not think the Patriots (8-3, 4-0) played their best game against the Raiders (7-6, 3-2) on Tuesday, and thought they took a step back in spite of the win. She said there was no momentum on offense with poor ball rotation. Brown added the team did not talk or communicate during the game.
She said one thing the Pats did do right was play defense. Brown said the offense didn’t shine, but the defense created points by pushing the ball up the floor off of turnovers or quick rebounds.
The Raiders were without sophomore Myah Montgomery for all but the opening seven seconds of the game. Montgomery went down to injury at the 7:53 mark of the opening quarter. She had to be helped off the floor with both of her arms on somebody else’s shoulders. Montgomery later walked on her own during the first quarter, later sitting on the Southridge bench during the first and second halves, and had some ice wrapped around her right knee. However, Raiders coach Greg Werner was not going to return her to the game no matter what.
“Let’s hope she’ll be just fine, but we just don’t know,” Werner said. “We just don’t know with knee injuries, but it’s definitely something with the knee, so we’ll have to take a look at it.”
Montgomery has been a ballhandler for Southridge this season. The Raiders relied on freshman Marie Tempel to bring the ball up the court after Montgomery’s injury. Werner praised both Tempel and junior Kennedy Nalley, who had a team-high 10 points, for how hard they played, adding both of them stepped up. He said, though, that Montgomery’s injury enables the opposition to key on the likes of Nalley and Tempel, or someone like sophomore Mikah Goeppner or junior Abigail Kerkhoff if they get going. Werner said organization has been a challenge for most of the year, and that an injury causes a disruption to that organization, which affects team chemistry and how the Raiders execute on offense.
“At times, there’s some good movement,” he said. “We’ve got to screen better. We’re too robotic. We’re going Point A, Point B. So some of these things they’re going to wish was fixed by now. It’s just not, but it has been fixed a little bit because we’ve been playing better basketball.”
The Pats got off to a 4-0 run against the Raiders. A triple from Goeppner made it 4-3. Heritage Hills junior Rebekah Gordon had a put back that made it 6-3. Goeppner sank both of her free throws to get the Raiders within one again at 6-5. However, that was the closest they would get. The Pats went on a 10-0 run starting in the first quarter and into the second quarter to help pull away. The duo of sophomore Hadley Lytton and junior Avery Neff banked in some 3-pointers to help create space. Heritage Hills committed eight fouls in the opening half, but Southridge only went for nine points in the first 16 minutes of play. The Pats held a 23-9 advantage going into the locker room. Heritage Hills went 8 of 11 at the free throw line. Neff led the way with a game-high 15 points, while Gordon was behind her with 13. Southridge never caught up after it was 6-5, and Heritage Hills turned to its reserves with just more than three minutes left in the game.
Tuesday was Southridge’s last game of the calendar year. The Raiders are next scheduled to play Jan. 3 at Evansville Central. Werner has wanted to work on offense, but said his team needs a mental breather. He said Nalley is “100 times better” than when the team started, and said both Tempel and Goeppner are “way better” than when they started. Werner said, though, that Southridge can go to another level.
“Do I think we’ll solve it all?” Werner asked. “No, but I’m going to work like heck to try to solve it all, and these kids are going to work like heck to try to solve it all, at least I think they will.”
Heritage Hills still has some basketball left to play in December, though. It is set to meet conference rival Tell City Saturday at Perry Central in the opening round of the Perry-Spencer Tournament. The Pats took down the Marksmen, 75-20, on Dec. 3. Fellow PAC rival South Spencer, as well as the host Commodores, will join Heritage Hills and Tell City as the four teams that comprise the tournament field. The tournament will have four games, with the two losers going onto the third-place game, and the two winners playing for the championship. The Pats are the only team of the four with a winning record, and Brown likes her team’s chances of taking first place.
“I feel like with the athletes we have on our team, we match up pretty well with everyone,” she said.
For more photos, go to https://duboiscountyherald.com/b/gallery/basketball-southridge-at-heritage-hills?i=116398
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