Pats run away from Chargers on Senior NightJanuary 30, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — “It gets late early out here” is a malapropism attributed to baseball legend Yogi Berra.
Yet, such a statement could also have applied to the basketball court at Heritage Hills on Thursday night. The Patriots (16-6, 7-1) jumped out to an 8-0 lead against Pocket Athletic Conference rival Pike Central. They were just getting started in what became an 87-43 win. Junior Kenzie Powell got the Chargers on the board by making a pair of free throws with 6:25 to go in the first quarter that made it 8-2.
However, the Pats responded by going on a 12-0 run to make it a 20-2 score. They used a lot of methods to run away from their PAC foe. Heritage Hills shot 17 of 21 (87%) from the free throw line, and also got points off defense. The Pats showed their nose for the basketball by notching steals and getting layups. They also used perimeter shooting to help pull away. Heritage Hills made eight 3-pointers, with seven coming in the first half.
“When a team like ours gets a little taste of success at the rim, it’s contagious and everybody wanted everybody to score,” Heritage Hills coach Kim Brown said. “So, they’re sharing the ball pretty well. We would like to move the ball a little better, but it was just confidence, I think.”
Heritage Hills honored Brianna Quinn before the game for Senior Night. Quinn is the lone senior player for the Patriots, and turned it up a notch in the final regular-season game of her high school career. Her 22 points were second on the team to junior Rebekah Gordon’s 25, and Quinn went 7 for 8 at the free throw line.
“I was really nervous before and on the drive here. I was kind of shaky because I just wanted to perform well for my team. But once we got in the locker room, we really did give each other a group hug and we fell to the floor,” Quinn said. “That just relaxed me, and I realized I could just go out and play the game.”
It’s a lot of fun for Quinn to be the only senior on the team. She gets to be a leader for a team that looks up to her. Quinn makes sure to pump up the Pats, getting them to have fun and stay on top of everything. She’ll miss being able to see her whole community around her, getting to play the sport she loves in front of people around her that she loves.
“Brianna is a workhorse,” Brown said. “She’ll do whatever I ask her to do. She is hard-nosed. She’ll get in the mix with everybody, bigger or smaller, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if somebody’s faster than her. She’s hardnosed and she’s going to fight to the bitter end.”
Quinn is different from other seniors because she has the luxury of playing on her home floor after Senior Night. Heritage Hills is hosting sectionals next week. Quinn will get at least one more game on her home floor. The Pats will be back in action Feb. 7 against either Evansville Memorial or PAC rival Gibson Southern.
“We found this out at the beginning of the season and I’m looking forward to it so much,” she said. “I feel like we’re going to have a really good crowd here, and it’s just going to be amazing.”
The Pats will have some things to work on before then. Brown has praised their defense this season while simultaneously being critical of the offense. She thinks the offense is improved, but still isn’t where they want it to be, which is a quick, fast-paced offense, finding the open player in good position to score. Brown considers the Pats lucky to have the bye and have another week to get it fixed. She said they’ll do a lot of shooting and make sure the offense gets consistent.
Heritage Hills has not played Evansville Memorial this season, but if the game is against Gibson Southern, Brown knows what her team needs to do better in order to have a different result from their 65-52 loss to the Titans on Jan. 21.
“We need to move the ball,” she said. “We didn’t move the ball at all when we played them. We were one pass and a forced shot, or one pass and a contested shot, and we made some, but I feel like we gave up a lot of opportunity by shooting too early in our possessions.”
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