Hurricanes eliminate Bulldogs

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Heritage High School’s boys’ basketball team survived a strong challenge from visiting King’s Fork High School on Tuesday to qualify for the state tournament and end the Bulldogs’ season in the Region 4A East tournament quarterfinals.

The Hurricanes, former conference rivals of King’s Fork, triumphed 54-49.

“I think we had a chance to win,” Bulldogs coach Josh Worrell said, but he pointed to missed free throws and missed shots at key moments as big factors in the game’s outcome.

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Heritage led 14-8 after the first quarter, but the scoreboard never got more lopsided than that.

“They never got ahead higher than six, we never got ahead higher than three,” Worrell said.

The Hurricanes held a 25-20 advantage at the half, but it shrank to one point, 38-37, entering the fourth quarter.

For a while, neither team scored in the final period, but later on, King’s Fork led 41-38. After Heritage tied it up at 41, Bulldogs senior center Chris Roscoe got a dunk with about three minutes to play that put his team back up, 43-41.

Then Hurricanes senior point guard Jermaine Marrow hit a three-pointer to push his team ahead 44-43. Heritage’s lead had grown to 46-43 when King’s Fork got some opportunities at the free throw line.

“Then, we miss three out of four free throws,” Worrell said.

The Hurricanes went up 48-44 with about a minute and 20 seconds left, but Bulldogs sophomore guard James Hatton kept his team alive, hitting a three-pointer to make it 48-47.

After that, a player for Heritage lost the ball in the lane but then recovered it and drew a foul as he made a basket. Making the free throw, he suddenly put the Hurricanes up 51-47.

King’s Fork failed to respond, missing a shot from about five or six feet away, then missing the tip-in. Heritage got the rebound and was fouled before going up 54-47.

A Bulldog basket with six seconds to go to make it 54-49 was too little too late.

Finishing with 29 points for the game, Marrow made four three-pointers, and he “shot more free throws himself than we shot as a team,” Worrell said. “He shot 19 free throws,” making 13 of them.

The Hurricanes went 24-for-34 from the foul line, while King’s Fork went 8-for-16.

Heritage made only eight two-point baskets the entire game.

“Defensively, I don’t think we were bad,” Worrell said.

Hatton finished with 15 points, three assists and three steals, while Roscoe had nine points and 10 rebounds, senior guard Donjawnez Stancel contributed nine points and six boards and sophomore guard Rontre Pope added seven points.

King’s Fork finished the season with a 13-12 record despite losing some key players from last year’s squad which made it to the Group 4A state championship game.

“It was a team that overcame odds,” Worrell said of the 2015-16 Bulldogs. “Nobody predicted us to play in the regionals.”