Senior Lydia Schultz stands ready to play defense for the lady Patriots.

After a challenging season of ups and downs for the Heritage girls’ basketball team, ending their regular season with a record of 5-16, they came up with a big win on Tuesday, Jan. 31, in their first round of sectional play and are set for the sectional semi-final on Friday.

When they first came into the season, the girls had many hopes and goals that they were looking forward to accomplishing.

“I would say one of my specific goals was having an important role on the team and being a go-to person if needed,” said junior, Madilyn Scheumann.

When the season began, it started out unlike any other. In the fall of 2022 the Heritage High School gym flooded. This meant no sports, including basketball, could play in the gym at that time.

This was a major setback for the Lady Patriots. They had to find an alternate place to play now that their gym was unavailable. That place ended up being St. Rose in Monroeville. 

In reference to the gym flooding, senior Lydia Schultz stated, “It kind of sucked because we didn’t have anywhere to go or practice and we had to work around that schedule, but it ended up working out because we got a really nice gym in the end.”

The season started rocky for the team. They fought hard in their season opener versus DeKalb but fell short of claiming the victory. 

This did not keep the girls down. They still focused on working hard and playing their best every game.

When the Heritage gym did finally reopen the girls’ team was the first to get to play on the new court. They played strong during their first real home game and secured their first season win against Southern Wells.

As the season went on, the team continued to show growth. They improved by focusing more on their communication as a team and working together.

“I think we improved as a team by starting to play well together and getting used to the team chemistry,” shared senior Claire Bickel.

This seemed to work as the team showed success in defeating Adams Central, Lakewood Park Christian, New Haven, and Bluffton in the second half of their season.

Even through the team's struggles, the ladies were able to adjust and still found many exciting moments throughout their season. 

Schultz recalled, “The pink out game when we beat Adams Central,” as her favorite standout moment. 

At the season’s end, it was clear the team had shown much improvement from where they started, even with the hardships they faced. 

The head coach, Nicole Sisson, commented, “I think our goal is always to just consistently improve, and I think this year’s team really had a huge amount of growth and improvement, in the last half of the season especially. We dealt with a lot of adversity and challenges, but the girls just kept on playing hard and being mentally tough, and we kept getting better.”

After the regular season was over, the team still had sectionals left to play. 

They played in their first sectional game on Tuesday, Jan. 31. 

At the first round of sectionals, the Patriots faced off against the Saints from Bishop Dwenger. In the first half, Bishop Dwenger took an early lead and stayed ahead of Heritage. 

Then, in the third quarter the Patriots came back strong, tying it up at 21-21. 

Eventually, the girls took the lead from the Saints. They were able to keep this lead and defeated Bishop Dwenger 48-37.

After their victory the Patriots advanced to the second round of sectionals, which is set to be played on Friday, Feb. 3 at Concordia Lutheran High School. The team will go head-to-head with the Warriors from Woodlan, with the winner advancing to the sectional championship.