Salem Makes Sure It’s Lights Out for Heritage

Alex Light, Salem’s 6-foot-6, 295 interior lineman for the Spartan football team takes up some space.

Junior guard Will Pratt races past Pioneer defender Justen Joyner to lead the Spartan offenive push.
Junior guard Will Pratt races past Pioneer defender Justen Joyner to lead the Spartan offensive push.

Heritage High of Lynchburg found out Saturday night that on the basketball court, Light also takes up a lot of space.

Riding Light’s 12-point first-half performance, Salem jumped out to a 27-19 lead at the break and held on down the stretch for the 53-45 win over the Pioneers in the Group AA Division 4 boys quarterfinal played at the Salem Civic Center.

The Spartans advanced to play Potomac Falls in Tuesday night’s 9 p.m. nightcap in the state semifinals at the VCU Siegel Center in Richmond.

“I’m not sure what Alex Light ate today, but I’m sure going to find out,” an excited Salem head coach Kevin Garst said outside the Spartan locker room afterward. “He’s a big guy and he came to play.”

Heritage didn’t have an answer to Light in the opening half, as the Spartans lobbed passes into the paint and Light promptly put it in the basket. He was a perfect 6-for-6 on the conversions in the first 16 minutes. Light finished with 16 total points for the game.

On the defensive end, Light took up residence in the paint and made the Pioneers pay.

“We wanted to outphysical them,” the gregarious big-guy said. “The game plan was to not let them in the paint, and make ’em shoot it from the outside.”

Salem led 35-26 after three quarters, before Heritage made its first run. The Pioneers drew to within 43-40 with 3:29 left before Salem answered to push their advantage to 47-41.

Heritage took advantage of a Spartan turnover and closed to 47-45 with just under a  minute remaining. It would be the last Pioneer points, and Salem sealed the win by hitting all six of their free throw opportunities in the last 40 seconds, four by junior Troy Mann who finished with 10 points.

Senior guard John Repass also proved to be a thorn for the Pioneers, tallying 12 points including three 3-pointers.

Heritage, meanwhile, only converted on 4-of-20 attempts from behind the arc.

“A big part of it (the win) was we just packed it in on defense,” Garst noted. “Luckily the pace of the game never got too frantic. They never got into a great rhythm on the perimeter.”

“In the end we were able to take care of the ball,” Garst added. “And, the right guys got to the free throw line. I’m happy for our kids. No one doubted themselves.”

by Bill Turner

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -

Related Articles