The Heritage Hawks are headed to the GISA Class AAA basketball tournament next week.
That’s the good news. The bad news is they will have to settle for the No. 2 seed out of Region 1 and open on the road against Westfield.
Holy Spirit beat the Hawks for the third time this year with a 57-49 victory Friday in the region championship inside the Heritage Center.
In the third-place game, the Trinity Lions defeated Loganville Christian 70-55.
Holy Spirit led 30-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Heritage’s Lance Terry opened the final quarter by hitting a pair of free throws to cut the gap to 30-28.
From there, however, Holy Spirit went on a 9-0 run.
The Cougars’ three-point play with 5:23 left in the game gave them a 35-28 lead.
On Holy Spirit’s next trip down the floor, Anthony Edwards hit a basket to increase the lead to 37-28.
After going several minutes without a score, Terry broke the drought for Heritage with a little more than three minutes remaining to cut the lead to 37-30.
Holy Spirit pushed the margin to double digits for the first time when Michaiah Jeremiah was fouled while making the basket.
After he added the free throw, the Cougars led 40-30.
For the second night in a row, Terry led the Hawks in scoring, finishing the game with 23 points. Teammate Kasen Jennings added 12.
Three players finished in double figures for the Cougars. Kamani Johnson led the way with 13 points, Edwards 12 and Jeremiah 10.
The lead changed hands four times early in the first quarter.
After Holy Spirit took a 4-2 lead on a basket from Jeremiah, Terry hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
His second trey gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the game at 8-4.
With a little over four minutes left the first quarter, Edward three-point play cut Hawks’ lead to 8-7.
Heritage’s Ebe Dowuona then hit a turnaround jumper inside the paint to increase the lead 10-7.
The Cougars Christian Fussell cut the Hawks’ lead to 10-9. Teammate Michael Meade gave the Cougars their first lead of the game after hitting a 3-pointer for a 12-10 lead.
Heritage tied the contest at 12-all at the end of the first period when Jennings sank both of his free throw attempts.
Dowuona opened the second quarter with a dunk to to give the Hawks a 14-12 lead, but it was the last time Heritage was out in front.
The Cougars helped close out the half on a 7-2 run and led 19-16.
Heritage’s Dylan McLean hit a 3-pointer to tie the game early in the third quarter at 19-all.
After the Cougars regained the lead, Jake Canter hit a 3-pointer and Dowuona again scored close into the basket.
Each time, however, the Cougars had an answer for the Hawks.
After Heritage tied the game one last time at 26, two straight baskets by the Cougars increased the lead to 30-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Terry helped trim the lead to just two points when he opened the final quarter with two free throws, but that’s as close as the Hawks could get.
George Maslennikov’s basket early in the final period helped spark the Cougar’s offensive run and eventually push the lead to double digits.
Trinity earns third seed
Trinity Lions defeated Loganville Christian for the third time this year, winning the third-place game at the GISA Region 1-AAA tournament 70-55.
Trinity opens the state tournament Tuesday against Gatewood at 5:30.
The Lions led from start to finish, building an 18-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and pushing it to 29-19 at the half.
Senior Jamir Williams finished with 26 points, converting several fast-breaks into dunks.
Erick Valdez finished the game with a double-double after scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Brady Burnett added 10 points for the Lions.
Williams’ dunk in the second quarter gave Trinity a 24-9 lead.
Loganville Christian put together a small run late in the second quarter after and hit back-to-back 3-point shots.
However Trinity lead 39-25 at the end of the first half.
Williams turned two breaks into easy dunks in the third quarter, including one to push the lead to 45-28.
Loganville Christian closed out the third quarter on a 9-4 run, but Trinity lead 49-37.