NORCROSS — Rather than getting to watch his brother finish his All-American career in the Sugar Bowl, Corey Heyward had his own game to play Tuesday night.
The setting was hardly the bright lights of the Superdome and the stakes were much less. But the younger Heyward also put on a show.
While Cameron Heyward played for Ohio State against Arkansas, his younger brother showed why he has a college future in basketball.
The Morehead State-signee had 17 points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists as visiting Peachtree Ridge defeated Meadowcreek 58-48 to improve to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in Region 7-AAAAA.
As soon as the Lions finished off Meadowcreek, the younger Heyward’s thoughts turned to his brother’s game.
“I hope they’re ahead,” he said. “I have it on the DVR, so I can watch the whole game. I don’t know if I’ll catch the end live or not. It depends on how fast I get home.”
Unlike his brother, Heyward hadn’t generated much fanfare until this season and it was supposed to be a bit of a down year for the Lions. Now expectations have changed.
Peachtree Ridge has already knocked off preseason 7-AAAAA favorite Norcross and is building its resume. So is Heyward.
“People think, ‘Where did he come from,’” said Heyward, a stocky 6-foot-1 guard. “But I’ve always felt that I could play. I’m just more confident now.”
Even Heyward admits that he didn’t expect his team to quite get off to this good of a start.
“I thought we’d be pretty good, but not a record like this,” he said. “We’re a hard-working team and it is paying off for us.”
Heyward’s first basket was a thunderous dunk on an offensive rebound and neither he nor his teammates let up.
While turnover-plagued Meadowcreek was falling to 4-7 overall and 2-1 in 7-AAAAA, Peachtree Ridge was showing off its balance and unselfishness. The Lions had 14 assists on 22 baskets.
Senior point guard Moe Armistead had seven assists to go with his nine points. Richie Everette scored 11 points and Brandon Jack contributed nine. Eric Ryba had six points, four rebounds and two assists.
About the only place Peachtree Ridge struggled was at the foul line, going just 11-for-22.
Tevin Glass, a 6-foot-7 junior, had 18 points and nine rebounds for Meadowcreek, but the Mustangs struggled otherwise.
Armistead hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Lions jumped out 18-13.
Heyward had six points in the first quarter and five more in the second as Peachtree Ridge took a 28-20 halftime lead.
Peachtree Ridge would have been up by more than eight points at intermission if the Lions hadn’t gone just 1-for-6 at the foul line. Meadowcreek shot 13 free throws, making seven.
Glass had all eight of his first-half points in the opening quarter for Meadowcreek, which was held to seven points in the second quarter.
Up 39-33 going into the final quarter, Peachtree Ridge quickly pushed the lead to 10.
Meadowcreek was within five at 51-46 with 2:12 left, but then the Lions regained control.
“I know we’ve surprised some people,” Heyward said. “But we’re playing good basketball right now.”
Peachtree Ridge girls 69, Meadowcreek 56
The Peachtree Ridge girls broke open a close game with a 26-11 edge in the third quarter and defeated Meadowcreek 69-56 as sophomore guard Melissa Turvey scored 24 points.
Gabby Cole had 18 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and four assists for the Lions (7-5, 1-2).
Freshman center Stephanie Amichia grabbed nine rebounds.
Freddie Banks had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Meadowcreek (5-6, 1-2). Angel Alexander scored 13 and Courtney Fields had 10 points for the Mustangs.
Down 12-4 early, Peachtree Ridge battled back to lead 16-14 at the end of the first quarter and was up 30-20 before Meadowcreek pulled within 32-30 at halftime. There were 34 free throws in the first half, 22 by Peachtree Ridge.
Turvey had 13 points in the first half, going 7-for-8 from the foul line.
Alexander scored 11 first-half points for Meadowcreek.