Heritage coach Pat Kennedy said he viewed Friday night’s matchup against Enloe as an important one.
His team started the Cap Eight 4A conference season with consecutive losses and he was weary of having that streak continue. His team appeared to grasp the message, coming from behind late in the fourth quarter to pick up a 59-52 overtime win at home.
“We told our guys it’s a must-win,” he said. “These types of games are happening all over the place, so this is a big win for us to try to get back .”
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Enloe was the sharper team in the early going, taking advantage of five early Heritage turnovers to take a nine point lead four minutes into the game. The Eagles led 20-10 after the first quarter.
Heritage (5-6, 1-2 Cap 8) responded in a big way in the second quarter, trimming Enloe’s lead to 25-24 at halftime.
Kennedy said the second quarter went a long way towards keeping the game from getting out of reach.
“It was great to get back into the game,” he said. “We were proud of our guys for staying with it, and they could have folded pretty easily but they made some big shots to come back.”
Heritage managed to take the lead briefly in the third quarter, but Enloe responded with a 7-2 run that gave them a five point lead heading into the fourth. They appeared to have the game in hand, leading 46-40 with less than two minutes remaining.
But Heritage quickly closed the gap, outscoring Enloe 9-2 in the final two minutes of regulation.
“We had a lot of trouble getting the ball to the attack zone,” Enloe coach Tommy Moore said. “We missed some free throws and they hit some big shots.”
The biggest of those shots came from one of Moore’s former players. Former Enloe guard Mike Dix forced the overtime on a driving layup with 4.3 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Dix, who transferred to Heritage, finished with 11 points.
“It was an emotional game for him,” Kennedy said. “Those are his friends and his ex-coach over there. He’s a tough kid.”
Overtime belonged to Heritage as Enloe struggled to regain its rhythm. Heritage outscored Enloe 10-3 in the extra period.
“I didn’t sense any deflation,” Moore said. “Maybe it was because of (Dix’s) shot, but I felt like they were just fresher in the overtime.”
Jared Joyner led Heritage with 12 points and Josh Katowitz chipped in 10. Enloe‘s Dominique Lee led all players with 19 points.
As tough as the loss was for his team, Moore said his team can’t afford to hold on to it.
“The Cap Eight is a battle every night, so what we need to do is get this one behind us, get ready to have a good practice and let’s get ready to go to Broughton on Tuesday to try again,” he said.