Sterling, Va. — The Heritage High School boys basketball team got the win they were looking for on Friday night in Sterling when they held off a strong Park View High School team. Down in the first quarter and tied at half, the Pride used a second half spark to complete a sweep this week with a 61-57 victory over the Patriots on January 20 to go along with a 62-57 win against Lightridge three nights earlier.
“Coming into this week, we knew we needed to go 2-0,” Heritage head coach Ben Farquhar said. “2-0 on the road in this district is tough, but we went to Lightridge and we won a close game there, and we’re thankful to get one here too.”
Although the Pride dominated in the second half, Park View took control early by finding sophomore forward Messiah Dixon inside to build the lead in the first quarter. Dixon scored 8 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter, while also adding 3 assists, 2 steals, and 6 rebounds throughout the game. The Patriots had strong contributions from freshman guard Noah Calalang—who finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds—and junior forward Jonathan Nicola—who added 11 points and 7 rebounds—to take an impressive 15-8 lead after the first quarter.
“We knew they play hard, and they play hard from the jump,” Farquhar said. “It was something that we were worried about coming into the game, so we addressed it.”
The teams traded buckets back and forth in the second quarter as Heritage slowly chipped away at the Park View lead. A few Pride players contributed to the effort, but the main offensive spark came from senior guard Tyler Smith, who scored 9 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter. Smith was back in action full-time for the first time after being sidelined with an injury early in the season.
“Sitting on the bench is awful,” Smith said. “It felt great to be out there again with my team. It’s the best feeling.”
Both teams fought hard in the final stretch of the first half, as Heritage closed the gap with a basket by Smith to tie it at 26-26 going into halftime.
“They’re good; they’re not a team to take lightly,” Smith said. “We were going in knowing it was going to be a battle the whole game, and it was a battle the whole game.”
Coming out of the half, Smith hit a 2-pointer to give Heritage its first lead of the game. But, the Patriots weren’t backing down, as Calalang had an answer for each of the next couple Pride buckets.
Heritage, however, started to pull away midway through the third quarter as senior forward Jack Holland got hot—scoring 8 of his 17 points in the frame—and senior point guard Blake Rorrer started to round out his 8-point, 8-assist, 6-rebound performance.
“We started slow, but it’s all about picking it up in the second half,” Rorrer said. “We knew we could hang with them, so we came out with a spark out of halftime, and it obviously worked.”
Heritage never looked back from that point on, outscoring the Patriots 22-10 in the third quarter to open up a 48-36 lead entering the final quarter.
Park View kept the pressure on during the fourth, converting on a few free throws early and a couple 2-pointers from Nicola. Heritage always seemed to have a response, though, as the teams battled back and forth through the home stretch. In the final minutes, the Patriots put it all out there and narrowed the gap to just 4, but Heritage held them off to take the win, 61-57.
The Pride (3-6, 5-11) will look to use their recent momentum when they travel to Loudoun Valley on January 24 and Broad Run on January 25 before hosting Rock Ridge on January 27. Park View (0-3, 12-3) will look to get back in the win column when they host Lightridge on January 24.
“We have a tough stretch coming up now with some of the top teams in the district,” Rorrer said. “So having some momentum and being ready for practice is huge.”
Park View Stats
|Kossi Nadhon Azo||5||2||0||0||1||1-for-3|
|Rene Sanchez Lertora||3||1||0||0||0||0-for-0|
|Alexander Dominguez Garcia||0||2||2||2||0||0-for-0|