For one frozen moment, suspended in the air on his home court, Mister Lewis came within a fingertip of embarrassment. The Heritage senior had just attempted a dunk, and the basketball rattled around the rim while he hung on and ultimately poked the ball through the hoop for two of his team-leading 20 points in the Pride’s 85-53 win over Dominion on Wednesday night.
After the game, Lewis said he expected retribution from Coach Greg Grimes, who later said Lewis does not have to worry about extra wind sprints after the next practice.
“That one I don’t even know if we’re going to count as a dunk because it was rattling around a little bit,” Grimes said. “He’s not running because it went it the basket. That’s what mattered.”
Lewis dominated from the opening tip in the AA Dulles District contest in Leesburg. He drilled four three-pointers in the first quarter alone and drew praise from Grimes for staying tough on the block, grabbing rebounds and drawing free-throw opportunities.
“We just came off the bad (Loudoun) County loss. I just needed to take this game and get my head right. I just came out with my mind set that I have to succeed,” Lewis said.
Heading into the game, Heritage (13-4, 9-4 AA Dulles) followed each of its four losses with four consecutive wins. Lewis set the tone for against Dominion, and each of the Pride’s other four starters registered a basket in a first quarter that began with a 16-0 Heritage run.
Sophomore transfer Lael Davis, the Titans’ leading scorer, finally ended the drought when he intercepted an errant pass and broke into the lane for an easy layup. Davis paced Dominion (9-7, 6-7) with 23 points, but his effort was not enough dig the Titans out of the early hole.
With Dominion’s defense focused on Lewis, sharp-shooting junior guard Zach Coffman poured in 17 points for the Pride. Jesse Case added nine points, senior twins Bryan and Erik Launi contributed passing, defense and inside scoring, and the balanced attack proved too much to handle.
“We’ve got five guys that are practically averaging in double figures,” Grimes said. “They are all capable of scoring 20 on any given night. When Mister gets hot, and they open up the defense a little bit, it opens things up.”
Five games remain on the Heritage schedule, and the Pride currently sit in third place in the league standings, behind Loudoun Valley (17-0, 13-0) and Potomac Falls (14-3, 11-2). The Pride face both teams in the coming weeks and still have an outside shot at the district crown.
“I tell the guys all the time, ‘Don’t worry about what seed we are until Feb. 7, our last game,’” Grimes said. “We want to finish as high in the league as we can, but the way to do that is to win the next game, and then the next game after that and the next game after that.”