By DANNY P. SMITH
The Starkville Academy Volunteers were hoping for a better result against Heritage Academy at home Tuesday night.
After losing a 47-39 decision to the Patriots just three days ago in the consolation round of the Madison-Ridgeland Academy Tournament, the Vols gave up 42 points in the first half alone and lost a 67-47 decision.
"We thought we would play a little bit better, but we didn't," Starkville Academy boys coach Chris Lyle said. "When you give up 42 points in one half of play after giving the same team 47 points the whole game last Saturday, I was just disappointed in the effort of the team. We're just going through some growing pains right now."
Heritage boys coach Yandell Harris can see the difference in the Vols and what Lyle is trying to do in Starkville.
"It's night and day with the effort, the team spirit and the team play," Harris said. "It's wonderful to see with me being a Starkville Academy graduate. If he keeps this bunch out and works with them, they'll be basketball players before long. He's doing a good job of getting them out."
The Vols, who fell to 4-6 overall and 0-2 in the conference, had an 11-10 lead at the 2:25 mark of the first quarter after a three-point field goal by J.R. Gerhart, then Brad Dickey converted a three-point play the hard way with a basket and free throw to put the Patriots back on top 13-11.
After SA's Patrick Jones hit a basket with 1:46 left in the first quarter to tie the game at 13-13, Heritage finished the quarter strong by out-scoring its host 7-2 to take a 20-15 advantage.
The Patriots continued to expand the lead to 42-25 at halftime and 56-31 after the third quarter.
"We went to a bigger lineup that I like to call our triangle set where we really run three post players and gave them some matchup problems inside," Harris said. "I think that was the key. It was us getting good quality looks."
Dickey paced the Heritage scoring attack with 16 points, while Cole Walker added 14 points and Cade Lott chipped in 10 points.
The Vols, who were led by the 12 points of Gerhart, travel to Washington and host Pillow Academy on Saturday.