Panthers open impressively under Heath

First-year coach leads Piedmont to 51-49 win
Nov. 21, 2012 @ 04:29 PM

The Rudi Heath era opened in grand fashion.
Heath, a long-time high school basketball coach who took over Piedmont High’s boys program late in the summer, helped the Panthers being their season with a 51-49 home win over Weddington on Tuesday.
Sophomore Cameron Tripp was the hero, scoring the game-winning basket with 1.9 seconds left.
“Anytime you win it’s good and that’s not a bad way to start,” Heath said. “There was a little bit of excitement, I guess.”
Tripp, a 6-5 forward who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, was exuberant about the win.
“It’s incredible,” Tripp said. “It’s probably my best basketball experience I’ve had to this point.”
Tripp described the game-winning play: “Brady Meggs set a screen for me on the baseline. I ran, Qualen (Blakeney) hit me with a perfect pass and I just put it up. I was really excited but I was just thinking get back on defense so they don’t score.”
“It was just a play in our playbook that we go to,” Heath said. “It was just there. We’ve practiced that play a million times. We just hadn’t ran it yet that night.”
The Panthers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and carried a 16-5 advantage into the second quarter.
The Warriors came on strong after that, trailing 29-22 at halftime and holding a 37-34 lead after three quarters.
Tripp scored six in the final two and a half minutes of the game to help erase a four-point lead the Warriors built after Qualen Blakeney tied the game up at 41-all with 4:28 left.
Blakeney, who made all three of his team’s 3-pointers, buried one with 4:28 that tied the game at 41-all, then hit his third triple o the night with 1:04 left to give Piedmont a 49-47 lead.
Demonta Oates tied the game by scoring the Warriors’ final points with 39 seconds left.
Heath will always remember his first game as coach at Piedmont.
“It was just great,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to be here at Piedmont. It’s a great situation, these are great kids. I was really nervous, it was like I haven’t done this. I probably have 700, 800 games under my belt but it felt like it might be the first one. ... It felt good because this is a good place and the kids work hard.”
Brandon Watts led Weddington with a game-high 21 points, while Blakeney filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
Piedmont has a week off for the holiday before playing at Parkwood (0-1) next Tuesday. The Warriors are at Ardrey Kell on the same day.

Piedmont boys 51, WHS 49
Weddington (0-1)
Jordan Barber 1 3-4 5, Blake Waud 2 0-0 5, Brandon Watts 8 2-4 21, Demonta Oates 3 0-0 6, Xavier Twitty 1 0-0 2, Jordan Sharpe 0 1-2 1, Mason Osepchuk 1 1-3 4, Chris Trevisan 0 0-2 0, Jake Granger 1 1-3 3, Gavin Black 0 2-2 2. Totals 17 10-20 49.

Piedmont (1-0)
Qualen Blakeney 3 1-4 10, Brady Meggs 3 2-5 8, Eli Hyatt 3 1-2 7, Cameron Tripp 8 2-2 18, Jeremy Anthony 2 4-6 8, Andrew Wood 0 0-0 0, Austin Harding 0 0-0 0, Jack Gamble 0 0-0 0, Jaden Funderburk 0 0-0 0, Tanner Stringer 0 0-2 0. Totals 19 10-21 51.

Weddington^5^17^15^12 - 49
Piedmont^16^13^5^17 - 51

3-pointers: WD 5 (Watts 3, Waud 1, Osepchuk 1); PM 3 (Blakeney 3). Rebounds: WD 38 (Osepchuk 9, Waud 8, Oates 6, Granger 5); PM 42 (Tripp 13, Blakeney 7, Meggs 7, Hyatt 7). Assists: WD 9 (Barber 6); PM 15 (Blakeney 8, Hyatt 3). Steals: WD 12 (Oates 5, Watts 4); PM 5 (Blakeney 3, Meggs 2). Blocks: WD 1 (Watts); PM 3 (Hyatt 2, Tripp 1).


WHS girls 59, Piedmont 34
Weddington (1-0)
Lacey Lockhart 4 5-10 13, Kelcie Croal 1 0-0 2, Stephanie Watts 8 2-3 20, Sarah McKain 0 0-0 0, Bailey Carter 3 2-6 8, Olivia Jenkins 2 2-2 6, Lindsey Davis 0 0-0 0, Molly Mann 0 0-1 0, Anna Gatignol 0 0-2 0, Jada Craig 2 5-8 9, Emily Schill 0 0-0 0, Amarianne Mitchell 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 17-34 59.

Piedmont (0-1)
Maddi Morton 0 0-0 0, Brooke Kelly 1 0-0 2, Megan Shaw 1 1-2 4, Jessie Purser 1 0-0 3, Ashley Wilson 0 0-0 0, Natalie Harris 1 0-1 2, Jessica Prince 0 3-6 3, Megan Widener 0 0-0 0, Jaee Rosborough 0 0-2 0, Jacquelyn Price 1 0-1 2, Sarah Wylie 6 1-2 13, Abbey Mills 1 3-4 5. Totals 12 8-18 34.

Weddington^18^8^16^17 - 59
Piedmont^4^14^7^9 - 34

3-pointers: WD 2 (Watts 2); PM 2 (Purser, Shaw). Rebounds: WD 42 (Watts 10, Jenkins 7, Mitchell 7, Carter 6); PM 45 (Prince 11, Harris 8, Price 7, Widener 5, Wylie 5). Assists: WD 9; PM 9 (Shaw 5). Steals: WD 25 (Watts 6, Craig 6, Croal 5); PM 15 (Prince 4, Widener 3).  Blocks: WD 5 (Watts 3); PM 5 (Harris 2, Wylie 2).