By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (December 10, 2016) — With a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, the Heritage High School boys basketball team turned their focus to defending the Broad Run High School shooters. In fact, the Pride had one shooter in mind – red hot senior shooting guard Drew Johnson. Extending well beyond the three-point line, Heritage forced Johnson to take an off balance shot which he failed to connect on as the Pride held on to beat the Spartans, 49-46, in Leesburg on December 7.
“We knew they were getting the ball to Drew Johnson, so we put all the pressure on him,” Heritage senior guard Zach Garrett said. “He’s that spark. If you give him space, it’s a knockdown. We tried to make him take a difficult shot.”
The Pride defense controlled Johnson in the first half, but the Spartan defense did an equally good job limiting Garrett in the first half.
The second half was a different story for both scoring guards as Garrett went on to score a team-high 13 points while Johnson connected on three three-pointers to lead all scorers with 14.
“I tried to will my team back into the game to get the W because that’s all that matters,” Garrett said. “The guys carried me, I helped carry them. Teamwork wins the game.”
The difference in the game came down to rebounding. Heritage outrebounded Broad Run, 36-23, converting on half of their 12 offensive rebounds.
“Throughout the year so far, we’ve won the rebounding edge in each game,” Heritage head coach Sam Carpenter said. “It’s a matter of are we going to take care of the basketball and execute on offense. If we take care of the basketball and execute, we’re going to be in most games.”
While the Pride struggled to take care of the ball in the first half, a rejuvenated Heritage team came out more aggressive in the second half limiting their turnovers.
“We made better, smarter passes in the second half,” Garrett said. “We weren’t forcing anything. We made easy passes and took easy shots.”
Garrett – who added seven rebounds – was aided by senior guard Chris Chapman (9 points, 4 rebounds), senior center Garrett Ganley (7 points, 8 rebounds), senior forward Jason Richards (6 points, 4 rebounds) and freshman forward Dylan Saale (5 points, 4 rebounds).
The 6-foot-5 Richards led all scorers in the first half, but Carpenter decided to play a match up game late in the second half opting for a guard heavy fourth quarter.
“Personnel-wise we went a little bit more athletic. We gave up some height to be able to add some speed and quickness,” Carpenter said. “Luckily, we have personnel that we can change game to game depending how we have to match up.”
After a December 9 loss to Annandale, Broad Run fell to 2-3 on the season, but looks to contend in a balanced Conference 14 which finished with a four-way tie for second place last winter.
Sitting at 4-1 early in the season, Heritage looks to compete in a top-heavy Conference 21B, but will have to get past the conference-favorite Loudoun Valley Vikings at some point.
“It’s early, but I think that the returning seniors are doing a good job of rolling over the success from the end of last season into this season,” Carpenter said. “We’re pulling out close games where we lost a lot of close games last season. It’s fun to watch. I’m happy and excited for the kids. I just hope we can separate a little bit earlier in games to make it easier on us. But a win’s a win. I’ll take it.”
Zach Garrett 13 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1-for-4 free throws
Chris Chapman 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-for-4 free throws
Garrett Ganley 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1-for-4 free throws
Jason Richards 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 blocked shot, 2-for-3 free throws
Dylan Saale 5 points, 4 rebounds
Mohamed Sene 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Darick Edmond 3 points, 3 rebounds
Kyle Turner 1 point, 1 rebound, 1-for-2 free throws
Nathan Olafson 1 rebound
Dylan Shea 1 rebound
Aaron Maisus 1 assist, 1 blocked shot
49 points, 36 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocked shots, 8-for-17 free throws
Drew Johnson 14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal
Spencer Payne 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 3-for-4 free throws
Alex Huff 7 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 1-for-1 free throw
Bryson Dolly 6 points
Anthony Cooper 5 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1-for-2 free throws
Issac Dove 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocked shots, 1-for-2 free throws
Hunter Hauser 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Willie Jordan 1 rebound
46 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals, 4 blocked shots, 6-for-9 free throws