Playoff run for Christian Heritage boys ends in second round defeat

Feb. 24—Saturday brought a familiar conclusion to the season for the Christian Heritage School boys basketball team.

Just like last season, Christian Heritage is one of the top teams in Class A DII. Just like last season, Christian Heritage shared Region 7-A DII with the top-ranked team in Greenforest Christian.

Just like last season, the Lions fell to a two seed for the state playoffs as Greenforest claimed a region title. Just like last season, the Lions were forced to go on the road to play another state contender in the second round.

And, just like last season, Christian Heritage's year ended there.

The Lions' playoff run ended Saturday with a 64-56 loss at Warren County in the Class A DII Sweet 16. Christian Heritage ends the season at 21-6, while Warren County (23-5) moves on to the state's Elite 8.

Despite being thrust into the similarly tough situation as the Lions were a year ago — when Christian Heritage fell at Macon County in the Sweet 16 — the Lions appeared poised to break out of that tough situation and continue the playoff run.

Christian Heritage jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start the game against Warren, then took a 20-11 lead after a quarter. The Lion scoring slowed in the second, but Christian Heritage still held a 30-21 advantage at halftime.

After the Lions took a 48-39 lead into the final quarter, Warren County woke up.

Warren rallied to tie the game at 50 with three minutes left and didn't stop there.

Christian Heritage scored eight points in the quarter as Warren poured in 25 to storm ahead and take the win.

The loss ends the high school careers of the two Christian Heritage seniors, Jax Abernathy and Cash Hare, both four-year starters as Lions who helped push Christian Heritage's run to the state Final Four as freshmen in 2021.

Abernathy is the two-time Dalton Daily Citizen All-Area Player of the Year and signed to play college basketball at Trevecca Nazarene.