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MONROEVILLE—Heritage's Aaron Horne split the middle of the Adams Central defense with less than a second to play Friday night and his lay-up at the buzzer gave the Patriots a pulsating 38-36 ACAC win over the Jets at the Heritage gym.
The final score is hardly indicative of the type of game it was as Heritage dominated play at both ends of the floor until midway through the final quarter. The Pats never trailed in the game although it was tied twice, early at 2-2 and then very late at 36-all. In between, the Pats led by five to nine points as they bottled up the Jets on offense and limited AC to only 24 shots from the field the entire game.
Another disappointing factor for the Jets came in the first half as they finished with more turnovers than shots (12-10).
Coach Aaron McClure pointed out it was fortunate the halftime score wasn't worse than it was (23-15 Heritage) saying "we talked at halftime about all the turnovers we had and the number of offensive rebounds Heritage had. Actually we were in great shape considering the way we played up to that point."
The second period didn't appear to be improving for the Jets as they committed three miscues in the first minute of play without a shot on goal. A 19-10 Patriot edge got cut to five but Heritage's leading scorer on the night Brad Scott knocked in two straight fielders, including one on a strong offensive board with 1:46 to play. The only other point in the period was a charity toss by ACs Blade Kable.
The Jets came out in round three with a spark off a hoop by Nick Baumer and a trey by Alex Byerly but Scott responded with a traditional three-point play and moments later Heritage's Conner Bleke threw up a long shot that banked sharply off the backboard in through the net for a trey and it was 30-22 for the home team.
The final quarter was a completely different game as after Jacque Jacquay opened with a deuce for Heritage for their final nine-point advantage at 34-25, the Patriots seemed to wilt away and the Jets started hitting some shots.
Hayden Black started the charge with a 5:16 bucket and Byerly swiped a Heritage pass to go in for a lay-up and it was suddenly 34-29. Black was fouled with 4:03 left and made both free throws but Horne matched those points for Heritage at 3:27. Kable hit his only basket of the night with 2:55 to play, a three-ball and a once-confident Heritage crowd went for the Maalox as it was 36-34.
Heritage assisted the Adams Central comeback in the fourth stanza by committing 10 turnovers (they had just eight for the first three periods) and AC fans thought their team had tied the game at 2:04 but Black's score was negated due to a traveling call.
Heritage's charity continued with another turnover and with 1:22 to play Byerly had a good look from the top of the key but was fouled on the shot giving him three tries from the line and the Jets down 36-34. He swished the first, rimmed out the second and drained the third for a tie game.
The Pats played a deliberate style of offense for the next 60 seconds passing the ball around without attempting to go to the basket. Coach Brad Kiess called a timeout to set up a final play but it wasn't until the clock read 0:00 and Horne's shot was safely through the net that Heritage was assured of the win.