Pats earn 55-38 victory over Raiders

Photos by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Heritage Hills sophomore Olivia Susnjara (2) shoots a layup during the second quarter of Tuesday evening’s game against Southridge in Huntingburg. Heritage Hills defeated Southridge, 55-38.


HUNTINGBURG — In the opening stages of Tuesday evening’s Pocket Athletic Conference girls basketball game between Heritage Hills (6-1, 3-0) and Southridge (4-5, 3-3) the Patriots stayed true to their identity. When Southridge passed the ball up the court, Heritage Hills employed its high-octane press.

Defense ruled the roost, and the pressure guided the Pats to a 55-38 win.

“We usually start out in the press to get us going,” Heritage Hills head coach Kim Brown said. “Our on-ball defense is really good. We’re working on getting our off-ball help side a little better. I think it worked pretty good in the first half.”

The Pats held a 14-2 lead after eight minutes of play. Heritage Hills increased the margin to 21-2 before a Southridge field goal brought the score to 21-4. A mix of zone and press defenses created ample transition opportunities for the Pats.

Pushing the pace proved to be a sound strategy. At halftime, Heritage Hills owned a 34-10 advantage.

“That’s our identity,” Brown said. “Our philosophy is that we’d rather run and shoot in transition than run an offense. Maybe that’s why our offense struggled sometimes. We like to go fast. They got in our way a few times. I thought we played really well in the first half.”

Heritage Hills senior Rebekah Gordon led the Pats with 10 first-half points. Junior Hadley Lytton added nine points for Heritage Hills, while senior Avery Neff contributed eight points.

In the second half, Southridge displayed a heightened level of comfort. The Raiders executed sharper passes, drew more fouls and played sound defense.

Playing with a little extra pep in her step, Southridge junior Myah Montgomery found creative ways to get to the basket. Montgomery scored six 2-point field goals and led all scorers with 21 points.

“We’re going to deny her,” Brown said. “She’s the best player for them on the floor. She sees a lot of that. She does a really good job of finding ways to score.”

On the other end of the floor, Gordon maintained her aggressive mindset and finished with a team-high 20 points.

“She’s got a good first step,” Southridge head coach Greg Werner said. “She’s good at using her body. She has touch around the basket.”

Southridge junior Mikah Goeppner (11) looks to pass the ball during the third quarter of Tuesday evening’s game against Heritage Hills in Huntingburg. Southridge fell, 55-38..

Lytton recorded 12 points for Heritage Hills. Neff balanced the scoring with 11 points of her own, and the double-figure scorers left an impression on Werner.

“They have some high-quality players on that team,” he said. “It goes in cycles. You get some every now and then. They’re special players.”

Contests like Tuesday’s often yield learning experiences for both teams. The season’s development is uncertain, but the Raiders will look to bounce back from the loss.

“It’s not like I didn’t feel like we were ready to play,” Werner said. “I feel like we got shell-shocked. We didn’t play with that passion and that aggression. We played too weak. We should have played a little more strong.”

Heritage Hills will participate in the PSC Holiday Classic on Saturday in Lincoln City. The Pats are set to face Tell City at 10 a.m. If they win, they would advance to the championship game at 8 p.m. against either Perry Central or South Spencer.

Southridge is not scheduled to play until Dec. 29, but Werner is seeking a game to fill the void before the Raiders play Evansville Central at 7:30 p.m. at home that evening.

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