MONROE – On the first night of the 97th ACAC Basketball Tournament, Adams Central took down the 2019 girls runner-up and then followed up by beating the 2019 boys champions.
The Heritage girls (10-7 overall, 2-3 ACAC regular-season) had forced overtime against the Flying Jets (11-6, 3-3) on Friday before ultimately falling by four points, but Adams Central closed the door on the Patriots early on Tuesday, building a 21-point halftime lead and winning 50-27. The Jets boys (4-7, 2-1) also got off to a hot start, but briefly allowed Heritage (2-8, 1-1) to take the lead in the fourth quarter before prevailing 43-32.
"We were trying to convince the girls that they played really good in that game, because they were disappointed with the way it ended," Adams Central girls coach Doug Curtis said of Friday's overtime game. "We just didn't manage it good, so we did a much better job with that. Got a bigger lead, which helps, too."
Adams Central junior McKenna Dietsch shot 6 of 8 on 3-pointers and led all scorers with 22 points. She and the rest of the Jets did an impressive job moving the ball around and finding the open shot on possession after possession.
"It felt great – I've had some pretty bad games, and to go out there during tournament time, when it means the most, that was huge and it felt really good," Dietsch said. "We're not a very good passing team sometimes, but when we get pressured we know that there's someone open, so in practice we had our JV put on a bunch of pressure so we could find the open person. We didn't do too good on their press Friday, so we did the best we could and just looked for the open person, and hopefully they make a shot."
While the Jets shots at least 50% in each quarter, the Patriots shot 10 of 29 for the game. Adams Central also out-rebounded Heritage by a 2-to-1 margin. Bree Dossen led the Patriots with 11 points, while Carly Holley had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Jets.
In the boys game, the Jets jumped out to a 13-2 lead and looked as if they might run away with the game in the second quarter, but Heritage freshman Luke Saylor and senior Jaylen Holliness-Bell hit 3s late in the quarter to keep Heritage in contention.
A low-scoring second quarter gave the Jets a 22-14 halftime lead, but Heritage senior Parker Tracey came alive for six points in the third, and a 3-pointer by senior Jacob Parnin late in the quarter narrowed the Jets' lead to 27-26. Senior Hunter Teichman gave the Patriots their first lead of the night early in the fourth quarter when he drove to the basket. made the layup despite being fouled, and then hit the free throw to complete the three-point play.
But Adams Central senior Lucas Van De Weg responded with a 3 and sophomore Nick Neuenschwander made a steal and a layup to put the Jets back in control.
"The third quarter was a little rough for us, we struggled offensively, had a lot of turnovers, but in the fourth quarter we got it going there a little bit," Adams Central boys coach Aaron McClure said.
The game was an introduction to tournament play for many of the Jets, as the lineup included five freshman and sophomores.
"In the third quarter there, we were struggling to figure out who we wanted to have in the ball game," McClure said. "I thought (junior) Justin Bultemeier and Neuenschwander really stepped up there in the fourth quarter. Nick had a couple of steals, got something in transition and got us going a little bit. Justin had two 3s, his shot's been struggling a little bit, so it was good to see him knock those down."
Both Adams Central teams will play host to Southern Wells, which received a first-round bye, in the tournament semifinals on Friday.