VAN BUREN -- Tom Olsen said his team could have folded early Friday night.
After missing its first nine shots of the night, and allowing Van Buren easy shots in the lane, Rogers Heritage fell behind big early, but relied on its 3-point shooting and a zone defense to take a 59-48 victory in 7A-West Conference play.
Rogers Heritage 9 14 14 22 -- 59
Van Buren 14 11 5 18 -- 48
Van Buren (12-11, 3-7): Steward 16, J. West 13, Z. West 8, Ball 6, Kindrix 3. Burnett 2.
Heritage (18-6, 6-4): Peek 19, Stanley 17, Breedlove 10, Olsen 7, Kimball 3, Clines 3.
The game turned on the War Eagles' ability to hit from deep. After a bucket by Seth Stanley trimmed the Pointers' lead to seven, Heritage (18-6, 6-4 7A-West) connected from behind the arc on three consecutive possessions. Bryce Breedlove connected on consecutive touches to cut the deficit to a single point, then Dawson Peek gave the War Eagles a 22-20 lead with his 3-pointer with two minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Heritage would trail only once after that.
"Bryce Breedlove stepped up and hit some open threes for us that were really big shots," Olsen said. "The game is teetering right there. If that goes the other way, we're behind and who knows what happens.
"We felt like the shots we were getting in the first quarter, the quality was good. They just weren't falling. We just needed to stay the course because at some point the dam was going to break."
Meanwhile, after scoring on its first four possessions, Van Buren (12-11, 3-7) started having offensive struggles of its own. The Pointers built an early 9-0 lead behind their early efforts to work the ball inside, but after Heritage changed defenses, the Pointers struggled to score.
"(Heritage) got in a half-court trap defense, and then they controlled the tempo," Van Buren coach Austin Trembly said. "We were able to get some looks at the rim (early). In those situations (when they're trapping) you've got to get it to the soft spots. You either make the play or you don't.
"It's been the unfortunate story of our season. We'll look really good at times, and then struggle to finish. That's been our problem."
Stanley scored 17 points for Heritage. Peek scored 19, and Breedlove put in 14.
KJ Stewart led Van Buren with 20 points, and Jordan West scored 13.
Girls: Van Buren 60, Rogers Heritage 34
Heritage built an early lead, but runs of 15-6 and 16-8 for the Lady Pointers ensured a mercy-rule victory.
Van Buren 11 15 16 18 -- 60
Rogers Heritage 11 6 8 9 -- 34
Van Buren (15-8, 6-4): Sandoval 18, Frazier 11, Kinney 9, Evans 6, Schnakenberg 6, Ryan 6, Miller 3 Porter 1.
Rogers Heritage (5-18, 0-10): Seiler 6, Menke 6, Richardson 6, Dickerson 4, Brooks 4, Kinnamon 3, Combs 3, Mahems 2.
Van Buren shot 21 free throws, including two technical foul shots to start the third-quarter, which were assessed to Heritage coach Scott Moore at the half.
"We were aggressive taking the ball to the basket," Van Buren coach Chris Bryant said of the free throws. "We attacked the basket, and went to the glass. A lot of them resulted in over the backs. We forced a lot of turnovers. A lot of times when you force turnovers, and get in transition, a team will foul you as you get in transition."
Bryant credited substitutions late in the first half with an increased defensive effort that led the runs for the Lady Pointers.
"Coming out, (Heritage) had a great plan. Their kids really executed early," Bryant said. "We were able to go to our bench. That unit we came out of the first quarter with played with a lot of energy and gave us a spark defensively by forcing a lot of those turnovers.
"We started a different lineup tonight. I like that lineup, but for some reason we weren't on the chip early defensively. When we made that substitution, those kids really played with a lot of energy."
Irasema Sandoval scored a game-high 12 points. Zaiyah Frazier added 11 for the Lady Pointers.
Preps Basketball on 02/10/2018
Print Headline: Basketball: Heritage shoots way past Van Buren