Pats seize victory over South Spencer

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Heritage Hills junior JT Smallwood reacts after making a 3-pointer in the first quarter of Saturday evening's game against South Spencer in Lincoln City. The Patriots earned a 61-50 win over the Rebels. 


LINCOLN CITY — The fierce Pocket Athletic Conference rivalry between Heritage Hills (14-3, 9-1) and South Spencer started off with an instant bang on Saturday evening. When the Rebels strung together eight quick points, the Patriots immediately regrouped. 

The response was emphatic — Heritage Hills used a 10-0 run to set up a resounding 23-point second quarter. The Pats made six 3-pointers in their 61-50 senior night win.

“They bounced back,” Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins said. “After South Spencer came out on that 8-0 start, they were awfully good tonight.”

Big shots came in droves, but the Pats crashed the glass with an unbridled ferocity. Heritage Hills’ team effort on the boards opened up favorable transition looks. 

“We’re a physical team,” Hawkins said. “That’s what we are. We kind of got away from that the last couple of games. The last couple of games, we got outrebounded. That’s something we take a lot of pride in.” 

Senior Blake Sisley led Heritage Hills with a game-high 25 points. Sisley attacked the paint and forced the South Spencer defenders to commit fouls. He had 11 points at the charity stripe. 

The combination of inside shots and key 3-pointers from sophomore Marcus Becher and junior JT Smallwood electrified the Heritage Hills student section. Smallwood nailed a trio of 3-pointers for the Pats.  

“When we turned around and came home tonight, I think we had a pretty good backing of our fans,” Hawkins said. “They were behind them and kind of willed us to this win here tonight. They really helped us to play so well.”

After the final buzzer sounded, Hawkins highlighted Becher’s contributions. A regular contributor on Heritage Hills’ junior varsity team, Becher drained two clutch outside shots in the varsity contest. Those baskets supplied jolts of energy throughout the Pats’ bench. 

“I told him, ‘I need you to be ready,’” Hawkins said. “‘We need some guys that are going to step up and hit shots.’ He responded, didn’t he?”

Heritage Hills recognized seven seniors in a pregame ceremony — Cameron Banks, Jake Johnson, Aiden Susnjara, Logan Krzykowski, Adam Guth, Jacob Schmidt and Sisley. Hawkins took advantage of the opportunity to honor the seniors before the regular season’s conclusion, and the senior-laden Pats responded in kind. 

“I was like, ‘We’ve got all our guys, so let’s celebrate it,’” Hawkins said. “It turned out to be a really nice evening. When you do a senior night, you love whenever you can leave on a win. That was really big for our team.”

Heritage Hills will return to the court for an 8 p.m. home game against Tell City on Friday. Inclement weather is expected to hit Southwest Indiana throughout the next week, so the Pats are staying vigilant.

“We’re looking forward to getting back,” Hawkins said. “Like I told our kids, everybody is talking about this crazy weather.” 

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