The Pearl-Cohn Firebirds pulled away from White House Heritage in the final two minutes Tuesday night to advance to the Region 5-AA championship game with a 65-52 victory. Both teams came ready to play from the tip. Neither team likes to play at a slow pace, so the ball was constantly moving.
Heritage head coach Carl Miller said his team played hard, and he was pleased to have a chance at the victory. They just did not have what it took Tuesday night.
“I was proud of my team’s effort,” Miller said. “We had a chance there, especially at the end. We cut it to two. I told them, I said, ‘They just made more plays than we did there at the end, and they hit their free throws.’ We didn’t hit our free throws.”
Heritage graduates eight senior players: Ben Branlund, Jared Brummett, Moritz Deistler, Caleb Guisewite, Zach Hay, Timmy Freel, Blake McDonald and Damonate Teasley. Senior Darius Cain also helps as a student assistant. The group has been together since middle school.
Miller’s message for his special group after the game was simple.
“I love them; that’s what I tell them,” Miller said. “I’m proud of them. These nine seniors… They’re just a tight-knit group. A class like that, especially in public education – they’ve been playing since the fifth and sixth grade – for them to stay as close friends as they are, and just to stick together, it’s just amazing for a school this size.”
The Patriots finish with a 21-5 record, claiming both the District 9-AA regular-season and tournament championships.
“I’m just proud of them,” Miller said. “They left their legacy. They got a regular-season district championship. They had a chance to advance to the sectionals which we haven’t been able to do since we were AA, and they put themselves in a position to win and just couldn’t finish, so nothing to really be ashamed of in my opinion.”
Read the entire article by Joel Clinger at MSP: Pearl-Cohn closes out WH Heritage, advances to Region 5-AA championship