Conference Preview

Posted On: 01/13/20 6:18 PM

Sports as we know always produces scenarios that boggle the mind, and such was the case when Grovetown came south to Heritage in Conyers last Friday in a tremendously exciting affair, as a strange ending got the two to overtime and nearly cost the visitors, but they went on to an eventual huge 74-70 road win in 6A Region 3.

Zy Wright

Up 62-60, Grovetown's Jaye Gant seemed to have locked up the win with a rebound off a Heritage miss with 0.7 seconds left. But an uproarious Warriors bench was assessed a technical foul for coming onto the floor before the end of regulation. That gave Heritage a chance to tie with 2 free throws, but not before Gant had yet another chance to seal it with both ends of a 1 and 1. With the clock stopped by the technical foul, he couldn't just intentionally miss the front end, effectively running out the last 0.7, so he needed to make both to seal it. He missed the front end, Heritage's James White then calmly drained his two technical free throws, and off to overtime they went at 62-62.

Zy Wright Up 62-60, Grovetown's Jaye Gant seemed to have locked up the win with a rebound off a Heritage miss with 0.7 seconds left. But an uproarious Warriors bench was assessed a technical foul for coming onto the floor before the end of regulation. That gave Heritage a chance to tie with 2 free throws, but not before Gant had yet another chance to seal it with both ends of a 1 and 1. With the clock stopped by the technical foul, he couldn't just intentionally miss the front end, effectively running out the last 0.7, so he needed to make both to seal it. He missed the front end, Heritage's James White then calmly drained his two technical free throws, and off to overtime they went at 62-62. Julius Brown Grovetown vs Heritage - Both teams started slowly, as the importance of the match-up was clear from the get-go. After a 15-7 first quarter which saw no one assert themselves, the players amped it up from there, with the level increasing dramatically and multiple players having superb performances. Grovetown's larger frontline began to assert itself throughout the game, with 6-4 senior Zy Wright and the 6-6 Gant doing significant damage on the interior. Wright featured a soft touch from 15 and in, while also showing off his physicality with his back to the basket. He finished with 17 points on the night, including 4 in OT. He and Gant make for a 1-2 rim running punch that was a tough match all night for the smaller and more perimeter-oriented Patriots. The junior Gant has great quickness and feet, has a real feel around the basket and is an elite shot-blocker, every time he entered the game he impacted it, particularly during stints where Wright was on the bench. He's a 2021 big man to watch for sure. Classic glue guy senior forward Darius Dunn had his say in the 2nd half, getting all of his 8 points, and was an obvious stabilizing force in key moments. Not to be overshadowed by the bigs at all was the clutch backcourt duo of juniors Julius Brown and Zack Bell. Brown was under control and in full command most of the night at the point, despite facing some strong full-court pressure from Heritage, and he was terrific from long-range, getting five 3's among his 19 points. Bell too had a knack for the big bucket, hitting a huge 3 in OT and finishing with 15 points on the night, some of those coming on drives as well as off the break. He was a calm and cool running mate with Brown and that poise between the two will be massive keys to any Warriors playoff success. James White RJ Noord While Grovetown showed its depth of options, Heritage on this night was more star-driven by their two electric scorers, wing James White and combo guard RJ Noord. Excellent supporting pieces such as forwards junior Courtney McBride and sophomore Jalen Boston were key on the glass and hard-nosed fighters defensively for the Patriots, playing a large role to be sure, but it was hard not to be awed for example by White's 15-point 3rd quarter shooting display or Noord's open-court handle and slash game throughout. White finished with 29 points on the night, and when he wasn't bombing from deep he too showed an excellent handle and willingness to take it into the teeth of the defense. He's also an excellent defender, and when Heritage turned up the full-court heat, White was right at the center of it. With James bottled up, Noord did what he could in overtime, getting 6 of his 20 in the extra session, but it wasn't enough, still the smooth-moving 6-4 junior will play a large role in the young and talented Patriots' potential run to a 6A title.  

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