When Heritage took a 64-50 senior night win over Wakefield last week, it was the first time the Huskies program had won a game against the Wolverines, but the win also put the Huskies at 15-7 for the season and in good position for a wild card playoff spot, which the NCHSAA granted during tournament seeding Saturday.
Heritage (16-9, 7-7 Cap Eight), a 23-seed, led No. 10 Fayetteville E.E. Smith through one period Monday before falling 61-49 in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A East playoffs. It was the first time the Huskies basketball program made the postseason.
“You have to remember, this is just our fourth year, so in year one and two, a lot of people were thumping us,” Heritage boys basketball coach and athletic director Pat Kennedy said.
The Huskies started the season 11-1, the best start in the young program’s history. The team finished the year fourth in the conference.
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“We were proud of the way our guys started,” Kennedy said. “We knew it was going to put us in a pretty good position. We’ve lost a couple league games that we feel just got away for us, and that’s going to happen in a season ... but above all else. I’m just really excited for Josh and Nick.”
Nick Grover and Josh Katowitz, the Huskies lone seniors and captains, have been part of the Heritage basketball program since it started.
The varsity program, which launched in 2010 with the opening of the school, previously had won a total of 10 games in its first three seasons that included a winless first year with a team of freshmen and sophomores.
“At this time last year we were playing for pride the last six games of the year,” Kennedy said. “We were just playing to not be in the cellar of the Cap Eight. ... The guys responded well and played everybody really tough. We were very proud of the way our guys competed (down the stretch last year); but this year’s group, they have a whole different set of goals.”