Patriots make an uproar in statement win



LINCOLN CITY — There’s no denying that for the past couple of seasons, Evansville Memorial has been a thorn in the side of the Heritage Hills boys basketball team.

Two years ago, the Tigers defeated the Patriots in an overtime battle at home and then last season Memorial got the best of them Pats twice — with the final defeat sending Heritage Hills home for the postseason.

So it’s perfectly understandable that the Patriots felt like a weight was lifted off of their chest following their 57-36 victory over the Tigers in Lincoln City on Friday.

“We’ve obviously wanted to beat them for awhile now, everybody would want to after that kind of situation,” said junior guard Simon Scherry, referring to the Patriots past couple of battles with the Tigers. “It was a statement game.”

It was a jubilant affair throughout the arena following the victory with the players celebrating by blasting the hit song “Uproar” by Lil’ Wayne in the locker room.

The rapper declares in the song, “Where’s the uproar?” Well, for the foreseeable future it appears there will be plenty of exciting pandemonium surrounding the Patriots boys basketball team for awhile.

“This will definitely boost our confidence,” said sophomore big man Blake Sisley, who finished with 14 points and three dunks in the win. “During the basketball season there’s going to be highs and lows — we don’t want to get too high or get too low. We’ll celebrate tonight and stay pretty level-headed as we move on.”

Heritage Hills came out on a mission as they controlled the tempo right away from the opening tip. After the two teams exchanged buckets in the first minute of the game, the rest of the first quarter was all Patriots.

The Pats ended the first quarter on a 14-0 run with Scherry knocking down a few threes, Sisley throwing down a dunk and Carson Leibering knocking down a shot off the bench en route to a 16-2 lead to end the opening period.

‘We’ve been so focused on our defense after we gave up 74 points in that Washington game,” Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins said. “I told them I don’t care what happens in the first four minutes of the game, I just wanted us to keep playing and that’s what we did. We built up that lead which was huge to start and then we just never stopped.”

The defensive intensity carried over to the second quarter, even after Memorial went on a mini 6-0 run in the middle of the period to trim Heritage Hills’ lead to 18-11. The Patriots ended the quarter strong with Sisley, Scherry and Cole Sigler putting buckets to put Heritage Hills up 26-11 at the halftime break.

Once again, Evansville Memorial started to slowly go another run in the third quarter as Michael Lindauer made consecutive shots and Cade Graham got one to fall to make it 30-19 Patriots. But as they seemed to do so well all night, Heritage Hills answered back with pressure on the offensive and defensive end.

Junior Murray Becher, who came into Friday’s game averaging an area-high 23 points per game, started to get hot as he scored 10 of his 12 points in the period while Scherry and Sisley also remained consistent.

The Patriots continued to keep the Tigers at bay in the fourth quarter as they continued to stretch their lead with Sigler, Dylan Begle and Cayden Kratzer getting buckets off of the bench late to seal the deal for Heritage Hills. This win was the Patriots first victory over Evansville Memorial since a 63-58 road win on February 7, 2004. The 36 points is also the fewest Heritage Hills has held Memorial to since 1988.

Simon Scherry and Blake Sisley both finished with 14 each for Heritage Hills while Murray Becher added 12 and Cole Sigler added nine. Michael Lindauer led Evansville Memorial with 11 while Justin Waiz finished with eight.

There’s no denying that the Patriots feel that they made a big step moving forward in Friday night’s victory.

“For us to come out and just to win this game was going to be huge, to win by this margin we didn’t expect that of course,” Hawkins said. “It was huge for us to figure out if we could get over the hump and play with this team — our kids executed on both ends of the floor and tonight you saw what kind of basketball team we can be when we execute on both ends.”

The Patriots will now get to spend some time at home with their families on Christmas break before heading back on the court for the Perry-Spencer Holiday Classic tournament next Friday.

What’s the next step for the Pats?

“Communicate and get better defensively,” Scherry said. “We just have to make sure we’re communicating, staying physical and playing together.”

Sisley added: “Intensity — everyday in practice we have to stay focused and make sure to not get too high on ourselves or get too down on ourselves.”

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