The White House Heritage Patriots secured the regular-season District 9-AA title for the first time since 2017 Tuesday night with their 59-43 win over Harpeth.
The Patriots continuously built their lead throughout the night. Harpeth wanted to slow the game down, and Heritage played along.
Heritage’s Daniel Bale led his team with 21 points once again. Bale’s 6-foot-5 frame allows him to freely get his shots up inside, but he can also do damage from the outside. He is incredibly efficient as well. He came into Tuesday shooting a mind-boggling 68 percent from the field this season.
“He’s just a very naturally talented player,” Heritage head coach Carl Miller said. “The fact that he can score inside and out is what makes him so dangerous… He can post up and score over the top of you, or he can step out. He’s one of our most consistent three-point shooters.”
With the top seed locked up, Heritage will not have to travel for any game in the district tournament. Obviously, that is a plus for the team, but with only seven teams in the district, the Patriots will automatically advance to the region tournament, no matter the outcome in the district tournament.
Miller said they will miss the tournament atmosphere of having all the schools in one gym, but getting the best possible slot is valuable.
“Being able to play at home through the whole thing is important, but the one-seed also gives us a bye through the first round and an automatic bid to the regions,” Miller said. “Being able to play at home, both the semifinals and the consolation or championship, hopefully the championship, is very nice, not having to get on the road and drive somewhere.”
Despite completing their goal of winning the district title, Miller said their focus is still on their remaining games. Heritage will finish the season with two games against Cheatham County on Wednesday and Friday and a non-district game against Loretto on Monday.
“It’ll be business as usual,” Miller said. “We’re going to try to get better every game. We’ll go into Cheatham County tomorrow night and work on some things that I feel like we need to improve on, especially on the defensive end, and try to get better every game.”
The Indians only managed to score 43 points, but Harpeth head coach Daniel Moman said that was partly by design.
"I wouldn't classify that as struggling,” Moman said. “The game plan was to go slow, and we went slow, so I wouldn’t call it struggling. I'll say we stuck with the game plan pretty well.”
Moman said his team could have played better defensively and on the glass, but he could not ask for more effort from his players.
“The effort was at an all-time level by far,” Moman said. “We just missed a couple inside shots. We didn't box out well enough. White House Heritage, they can score from all over, so the game plan was to try to keep them down so we run offense to keep the ball out of their hands.”
Moman’s team sits at 3-8 in the district tied for sixth place. They wrap up their regular season with a trip to White House (currently second in District 9-AA) Friday.
Despite being toward the bottom of the standings, Moman has faith his team can make some noise in the postseason.
“In my opinion we’re one of the most talented teams out there,” Moman said. “It’s just a rough year, and I guarantee we can play with anybody.”
WH Heritage (59) - Daniel Bale 21, Caleb Guisewite 13, Ben Branlund 10, Taye Francis 6, Damonate Teasley 4, Jared Brummett 3, Timmy Freel 1, Brandor Rosa 1
Harpeth (43) - Aiden Williams 21, Will Collier 8, Logan Johnston 5, Ryan McMillen 5, Matthew Gray 2, Aaron McWright 2