Pats outlast Evansville Memorial, 66-56December 5, 2020
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
LINCOLN CITY — Saturday afternoon marked a banner day for Heritage Hills (2-0) senior Blake Sisley, who finished with a career-high 27 points in the Pats’ 66-56 victory over Evansville Memorial. Sisley’s second-half contributions propelled the Patriots in key moments, but Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins also highlighted the Pats’ defense and rebounding.
“I thought we made the stops when we needed to,” Hawkins said. “We stretched the lead just enough. Memorial is a tough cookie to kick. They just keep hanging in there and hanging in there. When you build an 11-point lead, they’ll hit a three on you.”
For Heritage Hills, the matinee’s second stanza was a marked improvement over the first half. When Memorial mixed in some press defenses, the Pats remained patient on offense. Additionally, Heritage Hills crashed the glass with a newfound fervor in the final two frames.
“In the first half, I was a little bit disappointed with them,” Hawkins said. “I felt like they were playing a little bit harder than we were, especially in the rebounding battle. In the second half, I think that changed. I think it was the difference in the second half.”
A host of senior Pats provided additional support on offense. Jake Johnson scored 11 points, Adam Guth added a career-high 10 points and Logan Krzykowski chipped in with eight points.
When Heritage Hills’ guards found Sisley in the post, swarms of Memorial defenders flocked to him like moths to a flame. In those instances, Sisley demonstrated his basketball aptitude. While facing double-teams, the senior displayed a zest for distributing the ball to his open teammates.
“He doesn’t have to score it every time, but he needs to touch the ball,” Hawkins said. “He’s such a good passer. How many times has he hit the guy cutting to the basket or hit the guy for a wide-open three?”
The season is in its early stages, but Hawkins yearns to experiment. He wants to employ his versatility because Sisley offers a multi-faceted offensive weapon. In a sense, the head coach is beginning the campaign with the end in mind.
“We’re having (Sisley) play a little bit of guard and a little bit of forward,” Hawkins said. “Obviously, when he transitions to the college game, they’re probably going to have him playing a stretch-four type of thing. He can play out there.”
Connor Agler, Nico Bordfeld and Justin Waiz accounted for the brunt of Memorial’s scoring. The Pats held the rest of the Tigers in check.
Throughout the contest, Hawkins relied on Johnson to play tight defense and initiate the offense. When called upon, the senior guard rose to the occasion.
“I can’t remember a turnover that he had,” Hawkins said. “The thing about him is that he’s such a smart player. He takes what they give him.”
Heritage Hills will put its undefeated record on the line with a game against Pocket Athletic Conference rival North Posey at 8 p.m. on Friday in Poseyville.
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