LINCOLN CITY, Ind. (WFIE) - Dominant is one word to describe the type of year the Heritage Hills boys basketball team just masterfully pulled off.
It appears that “17” turned out to be the magic number for the Patriots by the end of the 2019-20 season, as the team went on to win 17 consecutive games in route to the program’s first sectional title in 17 years.
Heritage Hills (22-3) earned the bye into the Class 3A sectional tournament last week, which set up a highly anticipated rematch with the Bosse Bulldogs on Friday night. This semifinal matchup felt more similarly to a championship game environment - thanks to a standing room only crowd of more than 5,600 spectators.
The Patriots were impressive from start to finish, controlling the tempo and ultimately coming away victorious in a 54-47 win over the Bulldogs.
Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins was highly impressed with his team’s defensive performance in the Patriots’ semifinal win.
“I told them, I said, ‘If you’re going get it, you’re going have to earn it,’ and that’s what they did," Hawkins said. "We made some plays down the stretch - wasn’t really pretty, missed some free throws and everything, but our defense was so good in that game. Obviously to be able to hold a team like Bosse to 47 points is just really impressive.”
This victory firmly punched the Patriots’ ticket to the championship game, as Heritage Hills was set to face off against the Memorial Tigers on Saturday night.
Hawkins’s squad took care of business in its matchup with the Tigers, winning 79-53 in a blowout contest.
For the Patriots, this win was redemption for last year’s early postseason exit.
Heritage Hills junior Blake Sisley says this sectional title has been a uniting force for the community, and he believes the Patriots’ historic run is not over just yet.
“It’s great - people telling you congratulations," Sisley said. "It does create a pretty big buzz around the community. It’s just exciting because they’ve waited a long time for it and we’re just happy to give it to them. This is our first sectional championship in 17 years, so that’s exciting already, but we think we can go further and we don’t think we’re done yet, so we’re just looking to have another good week at practice and get ready for the regional this weekend.”
Heritage Hills will face Silver Creek (25-2), the defending 3A state champions, in the regional semifinal on Saturday morning.