COACH: Eric Spivey
2018-19 RECORD: 19-8
Sade Harrell, 5-11, Jr.
Kristyn Goshay, 5-4, Jr.
WHO TO WATCH:
Jaliyah Weekes, Fr.
Daizha Wheeler, Sr.
Nikki Roland, Fr.
Gabrielle Butler, Soph.
Morgan Snipes, Soph.
OUTLOOK: For the past two seasons, the Heritage girls basketball has brought home Region 3-AAAAAA titles.
The Patriots finish a combined 18-2 in region play from those two seasons, but have faced the same fate in each of their first-round playoff matchups. The Patriots were upset at home in each season including last year's crushing 40-38 loss to Richmond Hill.
Heritage head coach Eric Spivey, who will coach his second year for the Patriots, believes that learning from past mistakes is what will get them over the hump this season.
Spivey also stated that there were plenty of strong personalities in the locker room that may have, “clashed at the wrong time of the season,” when the playoffs began.
“This year we have a lot of young talent coming up,” Spivey said.
As he continued, he looked at the two players who were sitting left and right to him. Those two players were junior Sade Harrell and junior Kristyn Goshay. Spivey labeled them as the leaders for the Patriots' upcoming season.
“I am sure they are ready too lead us,” Spivey said. “They are very competitive young ladies.”
As a sophomore, Harrell averages an amazing 14.5 points per game, which led her team. She also pulled in an average of 6.7 rebounds per game. Her monster numbers earned her a scholarship offer to Jacksonville University this offseason. She wants nothing more than to make a big impact for the Patriots this season.
“I want to change the culture at Heritage,” Harrell said. “It is not known for girls basketball, but by the time I leave, I want it to be known for girls basketball.”
Harrell seems ready for the challenge of having to lead this team all season, as one of her personal goals is to be a better leader to her teammates.
“I am not worried about scoring, rebounding or stats or anything like that because winning is the most important thing," Harrell said.
Alongside her junior teammate, Goshay, Harrell’s leadership amongst the new and young talent coach Spivey brought along this summer will be a crucial trait for a successful season.
Goshay, the Patriots point guard, brings a very quick approach to the game with her fast feet and handles. However, she believes that adding to the scoring part of her game can help the Patriots on the offensive end of the ball.
“I need to shoot more during the game,” Goshay said. “Midrange jumpers and also going to the left. (Teams) are going to force me left, so I need to finish on the left side.”
Battling injuries throughout her 2018-2019 campaign, Goshay just wants to be able to have a full season ahead of her.
“I want to be able to go through the season healthy,” Goshay said. “I just want to be able to go through my junior year and my senior year just healthy enough to be on the court.”
While bringing in a lot of younger players can pay off, Spivey realizes that it will be a process. However, he trusts these two leaders, or, “coaches on the floor,” as he calls them, to guide the younger players and challenge them during the season.
“Not only are they experienced, but they were my main key players last season,” Spivey said. “Having them to help lead the girls this season, that is going to be a big advantage.”
Spivey also alluded to playing smart basketball and being very detailed in how they play the game this upcoming season.
Losing a lot of scoring options this year due to several seniors graduating, Spivey is also putting the scoring load in his point guard’s hands to add to their offense after having plenty of low scoring games last season.
Although they were faced with plenty of tough defenses in a competitive region, the Patriots look to add to that so they can be a well-balanced machine this season and not only repeat as region champs, but also make it back to the playoffs and go further.