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Heights’ Semaj Hervey drives around South’s Jordan Moore in the second quarter Friday at South. Marc Browning/ The Wichita Eagle | Buy this photo

Persistent Heights defeats South

Published Feb. 21 at 11:11 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 21 at 11:12 p.m.

Stay with it, when it’s frustrating.

Stay with it, when you’re tired.

Just stay with it, Heights boys coach Joe Auer tells his team. Good things will happen.

“Keep going, you’ll get there,” Auer said. “And, like tonight, you finally break through and that’s how you win games.”

The Falcons were at their best late and when it mattered most in Friday’s 43-38 win over South, rallying to take their first lead late in the third quarter and then looking like a completely different team in the fourth quarter as they reeled off 17 points.

And all done with leading scorer Ealy Bell not at 100 percent because of illness.

“We played through a little adversity,” Auer said. “It’s the first time we battled illness all year and Ealy and Jordan Wilbeck both were feeling under the weather and doing what they could to help us.”

South kept its lead through most of the first three quarters behind the post play of 6-foot-6 Jordan Moore and 6-foot-8 Hunter Rogers, who denied Heights second-chance points with rebounding and denied them opportunities at the rim on defense.

But Heights (13-4, 12-2 City League) kept pecking away. Heights junior guard Semaj Hervey cut South’s lead to 25-24 on an acrobatic reverse layup with 1:57 left in the third quarter, then gave his team a 26-25 lead on the next possession, slicing through the lane for another layup.

“It’s just confidence, trusting yourself that you can play when the game’s on the line,” Hervey said. “(Auer) always tells us it’s good when we feel tired, because that means the other team is more tired.”

The two teams battled back and forth until Tre King’s three-pointer with 2:21 left gave Heights a 35-34 lead. The Falcons hit 8 of 8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win. King led Heights with 15 points, including three three-pointers.

“Both teams were getting tired, and that’s the point where you have to ask yourself how bad do you want it,” South coach Chuck Gunter said. “Whether you’re a guard or a big, you’ve got to step up.”

Hervey added 10 points for Heights. Rogers led South with 13 points.

“We’ve got a lot of playmakers on our team,” King said. “We’ve got players who can pick each other up when we need to.”

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Heights: Hervey 10, King 15, Bell 2, Johnson 6, Kowe 5, Gill 6.

South: Gunter 6, Bowers 2, Griffin 6, Moore 6, Brown 2, Rogers 13, Harris 3.

Heights guards Semaj Hervey and Tre King