Second half surge carries Pats past Raiders

Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Heritage Hills' Mitchel Becher dribbled around Southridge's Jacob Masterson in the first half of the Friday evening game in Lincoln City. The Patriots defeated the Raiders 67-54. For more photos from the game, click here.


LINCOLN CITY — Friday night saw two different Patriot showings for the fans in attendance for Heritage Hills’s game against Southridge. First, the school celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1988 sectional championship team, honoring the team members that were in attendance before the start of the game.

Then, the current iteration of the Patriots overcame a nine-point second quarter deficit for a 67-54 come from behind victory against the Raiders.

Heritage Hills got off to a strong start thanks to four three pointers from sophomore guards Murray Becher and Simon Scherry. Their shooting barrage helped the Patriots out to a 17-12 first quarter lead. They continued their display of scoring and athleticism in the second when Scherry turned a steal into a fastbreak dunk, and Becher came right back with another three-pointer after Heritage Hills came up with a block on Southridge in their ensuing possession.

But the Raiders eventually settled in and started to turn the tables on the Patriots. Behind guards Colson Montgomery and Joe LaGrange, the Raiders were able to build a 10-5 run and tie the game at 22 with 4:59 to play in the second quarter. Southridge found their rhythm and outscored Heritage Hills 23-8 in the second quarter to take a dominant 35-26 lead into halftime.

But during the intermission Patriots coach Nate Hawkins told his boys not to panic. Instead he simply told them at halftime that he wanted the team to play with that defensive urgency and aggressiveness that had served them well all season.

“We did not have the defensive intensity we needed to have to win this basketball game,” he said. “We allowed them to be very comfortable in their offense. I challenged them to play a little tougher. I told them ‘I want my team back’.”

The Patriots responded to their coach’s call to action by holding the Raiders to 10 points in the third quarter, while doubling up on the offensive end and producing 20 points to jump right back into the game.

Heritage Hills tied it briefly at 41 when Becher drove through the paint and around a Southridge defender for a layup, which capped a 15-6 run for the Patriots, with 2:41 left in the third. But Raiders sophomore guard Garrett Voegerl allowed Southridge to reclaim the lead, 43-41, with less than two minutes remaining in the third.

But the lead was fleeting, as Becher orchestrated another circus shot in the lane to tie the game again at 47 points, before freshman bigman Blake Sisley extended all 6’7” of himself to find the basket and give the Patriots the 49-47 lead with 5:41 in the fourth quarter. Heritage Hills scored 23 points total in the fourth while holding Southridge to nine to complete the comeback.

“We came out, battled and went toe-to-toe with them,” said Southridge coach Ted O’Brien. “We ran out of gas in the second half. They really got physical with us on the defensive end and we didn’t shoot as well in the second half.”

Becher finished with 23 points to lead all scorers, while Scherry poured in another 14 points. Mitchel Becher had 13 points, and Sisley dropped in 10 points in the win.

“We didn’t play too well the first half,” said Becher. “But we came back, grinded through it and we came out the second half (with the win).”

“We can’t make any nine-point shots,” said Sisley when talking about how the team got themselves refocused for the second half. “We knew we were going to have to start putting together stops and some scores.”

Montgomery led Southridge with 21 points, LaGrange had 12, and Voegerl put in 10 points for the game.

The Patriots will be able to enjoy the win over the weekend, as they do not play again until Monday when they face the Tecumseh Braves (5-8, 0-2) at home. But Hawkins plans to use the time to ensure that the help-side defense is sharpened so the team does not fall into a hole like they did against Southridge.

“Our help was slow. In that first half we were a step slow getting to where we needed to be,” said Hawkins. “So many times we just got caught watching the basketball. That’s something we’ll get back at. These kids are a bunch of workers, they absolutely love it.”

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