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Heritage Academy takes first step at Overall tournament

 

Heritage Academy sophomore Eli Acker had 18 points and six rebounds Tuesday night in a 70-55 victory against Simpson Academy at Mississippi College.

Heritage Academy sophomore Eli Acker had 18 points and six rebounds Tuesday night in a 70-55 victory against Simpson Academy at Mississippi College. Photo by: Chris Todd/Special to The Dispatch  Buy this photo.

 

Heritage Academy sophomore Jared Long had a  game-high 21 points Tuesday night. He also had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots, and a steal.

Heritage Academy sophomore Jared Long had a game-high 21 points Tuesday night. He also had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots, and a steal.
Photo by: Chris Todd/Special to The Dispatch  Buy this photo.

 

Senior point guard Dontae Gray had 10 points Tuesday night in the Heritage Academy boys basketball team’s 70-55 victory against Simpson Academy.

Senior point guard Dontae Gray had 10 points Tuesday night in the Heritage Academy boys basketball team’s 70-55 victory against Simpson Academy.
Photo by: Chris Todd/Special to The Dispatch  Buy this photo.

 

 

By Brandon Shields, Special to The Dispatch

 

 

CLINTON -- The tandem of Jared Long and Eli Acker has been potent for the Heritage Academy boys basketball team all season. 

 

It was no different Tuesday night. 

 

Behind a strong first half from Long and Acker and a stout defensive effort, Heritage Academy ran past Simpson Academy 70-55 in the first round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Overall tournament at Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum. 

 

Heritage Academy (29-10) will face Marshall Academy, a 54-45 winner against Union Christian, at 4:30 p.m. today. 

 

"I thought we were really good the first half defensively," Heritage Academy coach Russ Whiteside said. "Long and Acker did a good job of being physical with the two Simpson defenders. They found gaps in the zone and were able to get offensive rebounds and putbacks." 

 

Heritage Academy set the tone early. Long led the way with a game-high 21 points. He also had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots, and one steal. 

 

"I thought I had a pretty good game," said Long, a sophomore. "I felt coming in I had to be a huge part in the game and to help my teammates out. Everybody that is playing in this tournament is good no matter the classification. I had to come in knock down shots and have a fundamental game." 

 

Acker, who also is a sophomore, added 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, while senior guard Dontae Gray had 10 points, four assists, and two steals. Josh Neal had six rebounds. Reid Huskison had five assists off the bench. 

 

"I'm extremely confident that me and Eli are the best duo in the state," Long said. "We proved it last week in state championship, and we did tonight. I'm the more athletic one, while he just finishes around the basket. We're going to continue to play like that during the rest of the tournament." 

 

The Patriots built an 11-2 lead after one quarter behind a six-point quarter by Gray. 

 

Heritage Academy broke it open early in the second quarter with a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 20-2. It ended the first half on a 12-4 run to take a 35-11 halftime lead. 

 

"One thing we did tonight was we did a good job of getting offensive rebounds," Whiteside said. "Simpson was a good rebounding team coming in and we knew that. It's all about advancing to the next day in this tournament, and we get to do that now." 

 

Hunter Cline had 16 points to lead Simpson Academy. Kyle Russell and Jaylon DeVillier added 11 for the Cougars (20-13).

 

 

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