An onslaught of lights-out 3-point shooting put the Heard County High School boys' basketball team behind the 8-ball early in its Carrollton Christmas Tournament opener versus Greenville on Thursday afternoon.
Despite battling back at various points of the contest, the young Braves ultimately fell to the Patriots in a 67-53 decision for their fifth consecutive setback.
Heard County (1-8) had no answers the long-range shooting of Greenville in the first quarter, trailing by as much as 21-3 early. The Pats would bury eight 3's in the opening frame alone.
However, guard Alijah Huzzie fueled the HC offense with 11 points in the period to keep the contest from getting out of hand.
The Braves would take control early in the second, opening the period on an 8-0 run led by Huzzie and freshman forward Ayden Cannon. Greenville proceeded to switch back to its stifling press defense to regain control and take a 41-25 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, the treys continued for the Patriots as they managed to keep their distance from the Maroon and White. They continued this into the fourth, cruising to the 16-point victory.
The junior Huzzie led the way for the Braves with 28 points, six rebounds and five steals, while Cannon added 10 points.
Head coach Keith Simmons described being put into an early hole and how his players responded.
"I think they made about seven or eight 3s in a row. They were unconscious from the field early," Simmons said. "The good thing is that we didn't fold and our kids fought back. The one thing about all of those 3s is that odds are, you're going to start missing them sooner or later, so our kids were able to capitalize and somewhat cut the lead down."
The month of December has not been kind to Heard County, which is still overcoming roster turnover from last season and figuring things out. Simmons understands that tournaments like these are critical for the development of such a young roster.
"We have some young guys playing some big minutes that are just running on the fly," Simmons said. "On top of that, a lot of those guys had a big football season, so they're still getting into basketball shape. It's taking some time, but we're coming along. They're playing with a lot of fight and a lot of energy. We just have to find where everybody fits together."
The Braves will hit Criswell Court again this morning at 10:30 when they take on Riverdale in a consolation contest.