RINGGOLD, Ga. - It's not that Greg Brown doesn't enjoy seeing his basketball team pummel another opponent, but the Northwest Whitfield girls' coach knows things are about to get a whole lot tighter. So even though his Lady Bruins didn't play their "A" game Friday night at Heritage, Brown saw their 42-32 Region 7B-AAAA win as a sign they can win ugly on occasion.
Northwest (17-3, 6-0), which won its previous five league games by nearly 40 points apiece, committed 20 turnovers and let a comfortable early lead get away, but a strong final four minutes secured the win and a two-game lead over the Lady Generals (16-5, 4-2).
"We've averaged 65 points a game this year and I told the girls just now that we are going to have to win some games like we did tonight, as the competition gets better and better," Brown said. "I thought we defended really well. Heritage didn't shoot it well, but I like to think we had something to do with that. We played well down the stretch, and that was nice to see because we haven't had many tight games."
Northwest took a 9-8 lead on reserve Bria Clemmons' 3-pointer with 3:39 to play in the opening period to start a 13-0 run that stretched well into the second quarter. Heritage did not score again until two minutes remained in the half and went to the locker room trailing 24-12.
The lead remained 11 after the third period, but the Lady Generals scored the first six points of the final quarter, four from guard Jada Hubbard, and it was suddenly a five-point game. However, despite getting two more chances to cut the gap further, Heritage went cold again. A subsequent 8-3 Northwest run -- six of the points on three perfectly executed fast breaks -- sealed the win.
"We got it down to five and had it twice, and if we could have ever taken the lead I think it would have shocked them because they controlled the entire way," Heritage coach Eddie Bryant said. "But when we get to those situations we've got to have someone step up and take control. Tonight we just didn't do it. They were letting us play tonight, and, honestly, when the games are played like that we are at a disadvantage because we're not very physical most of the time."
Senior Macy Weeks led the Lady Bruins with 10 points, Hubbard topping Heritage with 10.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.