Pats dominate the Braves for fifth win in a row

Blake Sisley


LINCOLN CITY — The Class 3A No.3 Heritage Hills Patriots (10-3, 4-0) used the press, 3-pointers and inside scoring to put on a complete performance in their 82-48 win over the Pocket Athletic Conference rival Tecumseh Braves (5-9, 0-5) on Saturday night.

Patriots coach Nate Hawkins wanted his players to come out with more energy than they displayed in their 77-48 win over the Pike Central Chargers on Friday. The Pats promptly started with a 32-point first quarter to put those concerns to rest. Saturday’s win marked their fifth in a row.

“I didn’t think we were real focused [Friday night] against Pike Central,” he said. “I didn’t think our defensive intensity and focus was where it needed to be. That’s one of the things we stressed about today that needed to be better. I thought that our kids did that, especially early on.”

The Patriots blew the doors off the game immediately as the dynamic trio of senior guards Murray Becher and Simon Scherry, alongside junior forward Blake Sisley, powered a 9-0 start. Junior forward Tanner Toopes scooped in the Braves’ first shot, but the Patriots pressed their way to a 13-0 run, which included a couple of threes and a breakaway dunk from Scherry. Senior guard Dustin DuPont tried to interrupt with another Braves basket, but senior guard Cole Sigler used a 3-pointer to initiate another Pats run that put them up 32-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Sophomore forward Zachary Kolley got an inside bucket to start the second stanza, but Becher, Sisley and Scherry combined for four consecutive 3-pointers to extend the lead. An and-one from Sisley gave the Pats a 30-point advantage with a little under four minutes left in the half. Kolley and senior forward Chase Howell scored a couple of buckets toward the end of the half, but the Pats claimed a 52-23 lead at halftime.

Scherry drained his fourth 3-pointer to start the third period, but Toopes came right back with a couple of free throws and an and-one play. Scherry then got his hands on another steal for his second fastbreak dunk of the evening, and a Sisley and-one gave the Pats a 60-28 lead. Toopes fired back with consecutive baskets, to which the Pats came right back with a 7-0 run from Becher, Scherry and junior guard Jake Johnson. Toopes and Kolley combined for eight points in the closing minutes, but the Pats still had a solid 72-40 lead heading into the fourth frame.

The Pats closed the game with 10 points from Scherry, Sisley, Becher and Johnson. DuPont scored all eight fourth-quarter points for the Braves.

Sisley finished with a career-high 26 points, while Scherry and Becher finished with 23 and 22, respectively.

“Our energy was a lot better than it was [Friday night],” Sisley said. “We came out, started hitting shots and getting on a roll. Our press was good to us tonight. It just set the tone for the rest of the night.”

“We shared the ball and distributed well,” Becher added. “We’ve got to get a little better on defense. We have to keep pushing and play the best we can.”

Not only did the win mark five in a row for the Pats, but they remained unbeaten against their conference rivals so far this season. Hawkins expressed great pride in the feat, but also noted that he noticed the Pats pulled up a bit when they built a big lead on the Braves. He wants his team to fight that instinct and keep their foot on the gas so that habit doesn’t come back to bite them in March.

“We talk about every possession has got to mean something to us, regardless of what the scoreboard is,” he said. “There was that stand at the end of the second quarter where we fell in love a little bit with the jumpshot instead of attacking the rim. We have to have a good mix. It’s a process.”

The Patriots return to the court at 8 p.m. Friday to host the Southridge Raiders (7-8, 2-0) for their third conference game in three weeks.

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