The basics: East senior Mark Hartley hit a long three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Aces the win over City League champion Heights (17-2, 13-2). It was the third meeting between the teams this season, with Heights taking the first two.
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Key stretches: Heights led 46-41 with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter. East’s Xavier Kelly scored to cut the lead to 46-43. After Heights guard Marquis McCray missed the front end of a one-and-one, East (13-6, 11-4) tied the score on a three-pointer by Michael McKinney with 40 seconds left. After McCray missed the front end of another 1-and-1 with 15 seconds left, McKinney drove to the right wing then found Hartley deep on the left wing for the game-winning shot.
Standouts: Hartley led East with 14 points, including three three-pointers. Kelly added 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Heights forward Davon Gill led his team with 15 points while playing without frontcourt mate and the team’s second-leading scorer, Aaron Williams, who is serving a school disciplinary suspension and should be back for sub-state.
What they said: “I saw that there were 10 seconds left, saw (McKinney) drive and he kicked it out to me,” Hartley said. “I didn’t even realize where I was at and it just happened to go in. I missed the two before that, so I figured the third time would be a charm. Hitting a shot like that on senior night is kind of a dream for us seniors.”
“There’s no shame in losing at East on senior night,” Heights coach Joe Auer said. “I’m proud of our team, proud of the way they played. I think we’re a much better team now than we were whenever we walked in the gym tonight. Hats off to East and Mark Hartley for hitting that shot.”
What it means: Heights still has the City League championship title locked up, outright, and will be a much different team when Williams gets back. East gets a win that gives it some much-needed momentum headed into sub-state, and a win over North on Thursday should lock up a home game against Derby in its sub-state opener.
Heights: Andrews 8, D. Davis 7, McCray 12, Burton 2, Gill 14, Hines 2.
East: McKinney 3, O’Day 5, E. Kelly 9, X. Kelly 13, Hartley 14, Fralin 5.