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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Navaeh Feasby of Heritage drives to the basket against the South Adams defense during the first quarter at Heritage on Friday night. Feasby finished with 19 points.

Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:11 am

ACAC Girls Tournament Heritage 49 South Adams 27

Heritage defense relentless till end

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

MONROEVILLE – As Heritage coach Melissa Connor noted, some teams let the foot off the gas in the fourth quarter of games, especially when they have a comfortable lead.

But the Patriots played their best quarter of the night (and maybe the season) in the final period Friday, holding South Adams scoreless for eight minutes to claim a 49-27 win in the ACAC Tournament semifinals.

“I was really excited that we continued to play defense the whole way through the game,” Connor said. “We started to settle down offensively a little bit. We didn't feel as pressured that we needed to score a basket.”

Heritage (13-5) led from the beginning, building a 9-1 lead in the first quarter before South Adams (10-9) hit its first field goal, but the Patriots couldn't quite shake the Starfires. Lydia Loshe hit a 3-pointer and Emily Myers hit a shot to pull the Starfires back within 9-6, and both teams scored seven points in the second quarter. 

After what had been a rough shooting night, particularly for the Starfires, both teams came out of halftime warmer, as 3-point shots by Loshe and Madi Smith narrowed the South Adams deficit to 22-19. 

Although the South Adams full-court press occasionally tripped up the Patriots, the Starfires often failed to convert steals into made shots, and shots by Heritage's Bree Dossen and Abby Sheehan grew the lead to 10 in the third quarter.

A couple of clutch plays could have turned the tide for South Adams, which entered the fourth quarter down by eight, but instead the Patriots slammed the door, outscoring the Starfires 14-0 in the fourth quarter. A shot by Taylor Zelt and a pair of free throws put the Patriots up by 12, and Dossen essentially sealed the deal with a steal and a layup. 

South Adams had no solution for and no equivalent to Navaeh Feasby, who finished with 19 points. Dossen had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Zelt had eight points and six rebounds.

Emilee Myers and Lydia Loshe each had six points for the Starfires. 

The Patriots move on to the tournament finals tonight, where they will meet Jay County, which came from behind to beat Bluffton 65-58 in overtime Friday.

“I think it means tons to us; our sectional is super hard, and I don't think any of us think we get out of sectional,” said Connor, whose sectional includes Class 3A No. 2 (Norwell), No. 7 (Bellmont) and No. 13 (Marion). “So to go to a championship means the world. I know this is the first time any of these girls has been to one.”

The girls final will follow the boys championship game between Adams Central and Heritage, which will begin at South Adams at 6 p.m.