LOUISVILLE — Heritage Academy girls basketball coach Moe Reed knows her team has considerable potential.
She also knows the Patriots are still a ways away from showing it on the court.
“I told them potential is just potential until you develop it into talent,” Reed said Tuesday afternoon, shortly after her team’s 2020-21 season came to an end with a 39-34 loss to Lamar School in the MAIS Class 4A, District 2 tournament at Winston Academy in Louisville.
Sixth-seeded Heritage Academy (6-17) battled the Raiders to a 24-all tie through three quarters before third-seeded Lamar showed its superior experience and talent, keeping the Patriots from finishing in the top four of the district tournament and qualifying for the Class 4A north state tournament.
“They were the better team tonight, and they deserved the win,” Reed said of Lamar.
The Raiders scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to stake themselves to a 30-24 lead, and Heritage Academy never got closer than four points. Lamar made its free throws down the stretch as the same issues that plagued the Pats in prior games — shooting woes, missed rebounds and turnovers — hurt them again Tuesday. While the Patriots had their chances to win the game as Lamar struggled in the same areas, Reed’s team ended up falling short.
“I was frustrated with our lack of decision-making for this game,” Reed said. “We just turned it over way too many times, didn’t make good decisions under pressure. Ultimately, they capitalized on that, and we weren’t able to.”
Heritage Academy found itself unable to hit from outside save a banked-in 3-pointer from Ellie Dawson in the second quarter and Chloe Boyd’s buzzer-beating three at the final horn. That wasn’t a good formula for success against Lamar’s staunch zone defense.
“When that’s not going in for you, it makes it tough,” Reed said. “We didn’t make good passes tonight to even get open shots.”
Where the Patriots found success Tuesday was on the defensive end, as they forced plenty of turnovers themselves and kept the Raiders to just three points in the third quarter to tie the game.
Heritage Academy kept Lamar post player Sarah Dudley Reed to just six points, while Reece Shaffer led the Raiders with 11 points.
“Honestly, I thought we did a pretty good job of defending,” coach Reed said.
That will be something to build from as the Patriots regroup for next season. Reed said she hopes her players will organize games among themselves, continue to get in the gym and work on anything they can.
“We’ve got to keep the ball in our hands all throughout the offseason,” the coach said. “We’ve got to continue to develop our game.”
MAIS Class 4A, Region 2 tournament at Winston Academy
No. 4 Starkville Academy girls 44, No. 5 Winston Academy 38
No. 4 Lamar School boys 61, No. 5 East Rankin Academy 58, OT
MAIS Class 2A, Region 2 tournament at Columbus Christian Academy
No. 1 Newton County Academy boys 47, No. 4 Columbus Christian Academy boys 45
The Columbus Christian Academy boys lost a close game to top-seeded Newton County Academy, 47-45, on Tuesday in Steens.
Joe Michael Edwards had 15 points, Drake Shaw had 11, and Tyler Looney had nine.
Columbus Christian will play Kemper Academy in the third-place game Thursday.
No. 1 Columbus Christian Academy girls 57, No. 4 Kemper Academy 23
The top-seeded CCA girls handled Kemper Academy 57-23 in Tuesday’s district semifinal.
Audrey Foreman and Taylor Tipton scored 14 points each, and Morgan Whitten had 10.
The Rams will face Newton County Academy for the district championship Thursday.
No. 2 Hebron Christian boys 49, No. 3 Kemper Academy 42
The second-seeded Hebron Christian School boys beat Kemper Academy 49-42 on Tuesday to advance to the championship game.
Braeden Triplett had 13 points for the Eagles, and Dash Turman had 12.
Hebron will play Newton County Academy in the district championship Thursday.
No. 2 Newton County Academy girls 55, No. 3 Hebron Christian 41
The Hebron girls lost to second-seeded Newton County Academy on Tuesday.
Elisha Carter had 16 points, and Lindsey Daniels had 12.
Hebron will face Kemper Academy in Thursday’s third-place game.
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.