By Doug Gorman
Heading into Friday night's game against Heritage in the first round of the Chuck Miller Holiday Classic at Henry County High School, Ola boys basketball coach Curt Miller had a scouting report stating the Mustangs' opponent could really shoot the basketball.
Little did Curt Miller, the son of the man the tournament is named after, know just how well.
Heritage opened the game with a 3-point shot, and from there, the Patriots were just heating up.
Heritage connected on 10-of-15 treys in the first half, and added two more of the long-range bombs in the second half, rolling to an 84-62 victory.
"I had heard coming into the game that they could really shoot the basketball," Miller said. "What are you going to do when they are making that many, we just have to play better defense."
The loss continued Ola's losing streak. The Mustangs opened the season on a four-game winning streak, but have since lost three games in a row.
Ola dropped to 4-3 overall, while Heritage improved to 3-7.
"We just have to find a way to get a win again," Miller said. "A tournament like this is a good way to work on some things, but it's also a good way to get hit with a bunch of losses too."
Heritage hit six of its treys in the first quarter and used its collection of 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead early.
Jelani Archer's 3-pointer right before the end of the first quarter gave Heritage a 29-15 lead.
Ola cut into the Patriots' lead with 5:02 remaining in the second quarter. D.J. Beard answered the Patriots' long-distance shooting when he dialed up a 3-pointer of his own, reducing the Heritage lead to 34-25.
But the nine-point difference was as close as Ola could get.
Heritage answered the Mustangs' comeback attempt with three straight 3-point shots when Charles Moore hit two and Acher added one. The Patriots extended their lead to 54-28 late in the second quarter and pushed it to 56-32 at the break.
The Patriots led 74-56 at the end of the third quarter.
By the end of the contest, most of the Ola starters were on the bench.
Ola was led by Troy Swanson's 16-point performance. The Patriots' Archer, who tossed in 30, lead all scorers. Moore added 14 for the Patriots.
The Mustangs resume tournament action Monday at 11:30 a.m. against the Dutchtown.
McIntosh 63, Ola 39: The Ola girls entered Friday night's game against McIntosh in the first-round of the Chuck Miller Classic looking for anyway to get into the win column for the first time this season.
When Jordan Brown hit the first basket of the game, giving Ola a 2-0 early lead, there was hope.
As it turned out, the Lady Mustangs will have to wait at least one more day before getting that breakthrough victory.
After the early lead by Ola, McIntosh grabbed the momentum away from the Lady Mustangs, turning several turnovers into points.
It translated into a 63-39 McIntosh win.
Seven different players scored points for McIntosh in the first quarter, and the Lady Chiefs went on a 13-0 run midway through the opening period.
By the end of the first quarter, McIntosh led 23-6.
The Lady Chiefs built the led to 39-14 at the break and 58-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ola was led by Brown with 16 and Morgan Knowles 14 points. McIntosh was paced by Laura Higgison's 23.
The Lady Mustangs continue tournament play on Monday at 1:30 p.m against Morrow.
With the loss, Ola dropped to 0-7, while McIntosh improved to 8-2.