If Saturday's performance is any indication, the Heritage Hills Patriots will be quite happy to hit the road for postseason action in March.
Heritage Hills (5-4) put on a shooting exhibition in their initial trip this season to the host gym for Sectional 31 in a 67-49 win over Washington (3-7) at the Hatchet House.
The Patriots shot 63 percent (25-40) from the field and an even better 12-17 (71 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc in downing coach Gene Miiller¹s squad. And it was a performance that didn't surprise Miiller.
"Heritage Hills played tonight like I feared they could play. I've seen them play a lot of times, and always thought they were a good team. Tonight, they shot the ball extremely well. They handled the basketball well," said Miiller. "They're a good basketball team, they're young, and I think they may have stepped forward this weekend. They could be very tough come sectional time." With the Hatchets coming off a thrilling last-second home victory over Evansville Mater Dei on Friday, Heritage Hills started quickly, running out to an 11-3 lead in the first 3:00 of action.
The Patriots led 23-10 after one quarter and 34-21 at the half, and extended the margin to 25 points at 56-31 after three periods of play. Gavin Schaefer did most of the damage in the first half as the sophomore drained five 3-pointers on the way to 17 points. Schaefer would lead all scorers with 27 points on 10-12 shooting from the floor. Devon Merder added 22 points for the Patriots, followed by seven from Sam Scherry. Combined, Shaefer and Merder were 11-14 from 3-point land on the night.
Washington used a variety of defenses to try and slow down the hot shooting Patriots, but to no avail.
"We had no answer. We couldn't stop the point guard (Scherry) when were playing man, and we went to a zone, we didn't do a good job of containing Merder and Schaefer," said Miiller. "They're just a tough team to defend, and we just weren't ready to defend them tonight." A bright spot for the Hatchets came in the turnover department, where WHS committed just nine miscues after a 22-turnover performance against Mater Dei. However, the Hatchets shot just 43 percent from the field on Saturday after shooting 59 percent in Friday's win.
"Our turnovers were better, I thought we did take care of the basketball a little better, but we didn't shoot the ball well," said Miiller. "But the biggest thing was defensively, we just couldn¹t defend them tonight." As he was on Friday, center Cullen Arnold was nearly unstoppable for the Hatchets in the low post as the senior topped WHS with 17 points and also led the Hatchets with five rebounds. Colten Garland was next with 13 points, followed by five from Jarrod Purdue and two points apiece from Austin Ghirardelli and Jake Bedwell. Washington was without the services of starting forward Tyler Stoll due to an ankle injury.
Heritage Hills also claimed the JV game 48-47. Matthew Sparks led WHS with
25 points, followed by Carson Smith with 11.
HERITAGE HILLS 23 11 22 11- 67
WASHINGTON 10 11 10 18- 49
Heritage Hills (67) - Sam Scherry 2 3-4 3 7, Tyler Ward 2 0-0 1 5, Gavin Schaefer 10 0-0 2 27, Devon Merder 8 2-2 1 22, Spenser Minto 3 0-0 2 6, Torrin Medden 0 0-0 1 0, Zach Zolgman 0 0-0 2 0, Logan Steckler 0 0-0 1 0, Andy Sickbert 0 0-0 1 0. Totals 25 5-6 14 67 Washington (49) - Jarrod Purdue 2 0-0 2 5, Austin Ghirardelli 1 0-0 1 2, Colten Garland 6 1-4 1 13, Andy Garland 4 1-1 0 10, Jake Brashear 0 0-0 0 1, Jake Bedwell 1 0-0 2 2, Cullen Arnold 6 5-6 2 17. Totals 20 7-11 9 49 3-point goals: Heritage Hills 12 (Schaefer 7, DeMerder 4, Ward) Washington 2 (Purdue, A. Garland).