Posted On: 11/27/18 11:12 PM

Opening night presented a monumental test for both the Heritage Hall Chargers and the Millwood Falcons on Tuesday night. In a high-paced, energy-riddled contest chock-full of fouls, the Chargers edged out a 78-68 win to begin their season.

Heritage Hall simply beat Millwood at their own game, with quickness and physicality and then ramped up their 3-point game in the second half. Charger sophomore Trey Alexander controlled the pace of the game tonight, finishing with 21 points and five assists.

Millwood made this game interesting in the fourth quarter by getting back to what they’re known for, defense, but that wasn’t enough in the end.

There were many talking points from this game but five things stuck out in particular.

Heritage Hall’s intensity.

During the girl’s varsity game, you could feel the anticipation for the boy’s matchup rising by the minute. There was no choice but for this game to match that. However, one thing that was thoroughly surprising was the Chargers intensity level and pace they were playing at throughout the game’s duration.

Millwood is expected to run a physical, high-paced type of offense with smothering defense, which they did but Heritage Hall still overtook the Falcons when it came to that.

Heritage’s senior guard/forward, William McDonald was the most engaged player on the court. Every time he touched the ball he was in attack mode. His veteran experience shined through mostly through his discernment. It appeared as if he was reading the minds of the Falcons, continuously knowing when to drive the lane, when to move the ball and when to shoot the three. McDonald finished the night with 15 points.

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This game was almost too physical. Too many fouls.

In games like these, you typically see many fouls. Considering this was the first game for both teams, things were a bit sloppy. With that being said, the officials may have been a bit over-zealous with their whistles. In the final minutes of the game, nine of the 10 players on the court had four fouls and the other one had three.

The Chargers played the Falcon’s game in the first half and expanded theirs in the second.

As mentioned earlier, both teams played the same genre of basketball in the first half but in the second, Heritage showed why they’ve been a nuisance in the state of Oklahoma for so long.

After a dry first half, where they only connected on three triples, they were an inferno in the third quarter specifically, which played the biggest role in them jumping all over the Falcons. There were eight shots made in the period and 23 total points. Seven of those eight were from beyond the arc. Heritage’s Jack Spanier went a perfect 4-for-4 in the quarter and Michael McLaughlin went 3-for-4. Both combined for 28 points.

Millwood’s defense finally stepped up, but it was too little too late.

When an opening-night win looked bleak, Millwood fueled an impressive run to make things interesting at the end of the game. A double-digit Charger lead was trimmed down to as low as six in the fourth quarter and it was fueled by that trademarked Millwood defense. They undoubtedly would have won the game if they played the entire 32 minutes like they played the final five.

This was all fueled by three Falcons, Leo Mackie, and Cameron Bell. Millwood’s backcourt duo. In particular, Mackie’s lockdown defense to end the game resulted in 11 of his 19 points. Bell continued to play aggressive basketball by relentlessly driving the lane, getting to the line seven times. He finished with 18 points and 11 of those came from the line.

Millwood left too many points at the free throw line.

They had many opportunities at the line as noted previously, but missed 11 total. Heritage Hall, on the other hand, had many opportunities as well but went 24-27. That’s by far the most obvious disparity in this game.

Millwood would have won tonight’s game if it weren’t for missed free throws and allowing Heritage Hall to go berzerk from three in the third quarter.