Leesburg, Va. — If you didn’t know already, you know now: Heritage is all about speed. When the Stone Bridge boys basketball team traveled to Heritage High School on December 20, the Pride hit them with a fast-paced, transition offense and a deep bench. The Bulldogs kept pace early, trailing the Pride by just three points after the first quarter, but Heritage exploded in the third quarter, outscoring Stone Bridge 39-20, to run away with the 90-69 win in Leesburg.
“That’s our style. We get up and down. We’re going to make our 14 beat your 7,” Heritage head coach William Hatchett said. “What helps us is endurance. With a lot of teams, we just run them down.”
After taking a 13-point lead into the half, Heritage came out with a new found energy in the third quarter, where the Pride scored 39 points including just one three-pointer. Heritage forced ten second-half turnovers and got out into transition where they connected on 13 two-point field goals and went 10-for-14 from the line in the third quarter alone.
“If you notice in the first and second quarters, we couldn’t really make anything,” Hatchett said. “So once we got into the third quarter, our shots started falling which gave us more energy on defense which got us out in transition more.”
While the Pride got out in transition early in the second half, the referees did everything they could to slow the game down calling 17 fouls in the third quarter. Heritage and Stone Bridge stepped up to the line 27 times combined in the third quarter as the teams combined for 59 points.
“Because we run a five-in, five-out, fouls don’t really affect us,” Hatchett said. “What we want is for our guys to go in there and give us everything they have for two to three minutes. It was relieving that we were able to knock down some free throws.”
On top of knocking down some crucial free throws in the first three quarters, the Heritage defense kept Stone Bridge senior point guard Evan Buckley and junior forward Isaiah Rhodes relatively quiet.
“We knew coming in we had to shut down Buckley and Rhodes,” Heritage senior shooting guard Nathan Olafson said. “We just played good defense, and it flowed right into the transition offense.”
Despite leading the Bulldogs with 16 points and 4 assists, Buckley never really found his rhythm.
“We just kept throwing different bodies at him. We subbed a lot. We kept fresh legs in,” Hatchett said. “I think he started wearing down somewhere in the second quarter, and when you get a shooter’s legs tired, that’s what happens.”
For Heritage, the fresh legs meant a lot of scoring chances for a lot of different players. Olafson led the Pride with 26 points, while senior guard Gio Seigler, senior point guard Moustapha Sene and sophomore guard Max Jannes added 19, 16 and 14 respectively.
With the win, Heritage (0-1, 5-5) bounces back to .500 and will resume Dulles District play in the new year, after one final game in 2018 against Leesburg-rival Tuscarora (2-1, 2-5) on December 21. Stone Bridge (1-2, 2-6) will try to flip the script when they travel to Spotswood on December 21.
“We preach team first, and everyone has bought in,” Hatchett said. “We have a great group of guys, and I have a great coaching staff. The guys bought in to what we’re trying to do.”
Stone Bridge Stats
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