Kinston falls to Heritage in first round of John Wall Invitational
Kinston’s Samantha Lee drives to the basket during a game earlier this season. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
RALEIGH | Kinston's first trip to The John Wall Invitational wont be a memorable one after being pitted against a tournament veteran.
Heritage won 68-23 in the first round of the girls' bracket. The Huskies, playing in their third consecutive Invitational, never trailed on the way to victory and improved their record to 6-1 all time in the tournament.
"I thought our tempo to start the game was great," Heritage coach Pat Kennedy said. "We were extremely aggressive on the defensive end, which translated to the offensive end."
Heritage hit 11 3-pointers, including a trio to start the game. Kinston ended the run with a Taliyah Jones basket, but Heritage ended the quarter on an 11-2 run to go up 20-2 and went up by as many as 31 in the half, taking a 42-14 lead at intermission.
"We spread the floor a lot," Christiana McLean said. "Because of our size, we have to play fast. We got to the gaps and found our shooters."
The Huskies kept the pressure on and picked up the running clock with 3:21 remaining on a Cydney Johnson free throw. Heritage led by as many as 45 in the contest.
"Defensively, we stayed in the gaps and helped out," Johnson said. "We have to rebound and then get it out fast."
Kinston coach Christopher Bradshaw said despite the loss, the team continued to play hard.
"At the end of the day, if we play 32 minutes of effort, regardless of the score, I'm happy with that," Bradshaw said.
For Heritage, McLean had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Johnson totalled 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, Chloe Williams had 14 points and Alcenia Purnell scored 11. For Kinston, Jones scored five, Lesley Sutton had three steals and Comya Baker and Michyla Dove had four rebounds each.