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Heights keeps composure in opening win

Published Dec. 6 at 11:02 p.m. | Last updated Dec. 7 at 5:16 p.m.

In a game that turned when Heights’ draping defense produced a fervent pace, the Falcons’ season-opening 58-44 win over Bishop Carroll was highlighted by moments of calmness.

That’s a difficult trait to achieve in front of the raucous Carroll student section, but Heights found it even as coach Joe Auer lamented his team’s immaturity that produced an inconsistent first 24 minutes.

Semaj Hervey shook off being victimized by an emphatic blocked shot to steadily guide Heights’ developing offense. Sophomore forward Davon Gill stoically owned the paint with 15 points, and Ealy Bell remained poised after a slow start to score 11 points in the fourth quarter and finish with 16.

These instances belied much of the rest of the game, when Heights’ pressure quickened the tempo and prevented Carroll from setting its offense, but they provided the balance necessary for the Falcons to end the game on a 34-10 run.

“It was a very blue-collar effort for us,” Auer said. “A lot of teams will come here … where you get down, and you’re embarrassed by it. Your ego beats you. And our kids never did that – they didn’t let offensive miscues (distract them).”

The first time Heights rallied from a 10-point deficit was on the back of a first-quarter play that more likely would have given Carroll a momentum boost. Hervey, undersized at 5-foot-10 but never bashful about driving to the paint, barely got a floater off his fingertips before it was stuffed by Eric Scharpring.

That fired up Carroll, but Heights’ ensuing composure proved to be the difference. The Falcons trailed 13-11 after four minutes but scored 10 of the first 14 second-quarter points and had a 22-21 halftime lead.

Hervey, a junior point guard, had one first-quarter turnover but was otherwise flawless in taking care of the ball, part of the difference as Carroll committed 22 giveaways. Gill and Bell both produced most in the fourth quarter, but Hervey was consistent, never scoring more than five points in a period.

“Everybody makes bad plays,” Hervey said. “I don’t let the crowd get to me, I just try to keep playing hard and don’t let (bad plays) transition to my defense.”

Carroll led 34-24 late in the third, but an inability to enter a halfcourt offense doomed the Eagles. Carroll had eight turnovers in the fourth, when three players fouled out, and Heights doubled its total with 29 points.

“Credit Heights, they turned us into poor decision makers at times,” Carroll coach Lonnie Lollar said. “We got straddled with fouls, but credit them. We’ve just got to be there for one another.”

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HEIGHTS: Hervey 6 3-4 16, Lowe 1 0-2 2, Johnson 1 4-4 6, King 1 0-0 2, Nell 4 8-11 16, Gil 6 3-5 15, Ellis 0 1-3 1, Wilbeck 0 0-0 0.

BISHOP CARROLL: Wilbert 1 0-0 2, Hohl 2 1-1 6, Carney 3 0-2 8, Price 4 3-4 11, Evans 3 4-6 10, Sharping 0 3-5 3, Bell 1 0-0 2, Benoit 1 0-0 2, Demel 0 0-0 0.