Christian Heritage School's tallest boys basketball player lacked about eight inches on 6-foot-11-inch four-star junior Felix Okpara of Chattanooga's Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, but the Lions came just short of knocking down the nationally-ranked squad.
Christian Heritage (5-1) held a nine-point fourth quarter lead, but Hamilton Heights (3-2) shut down the Lions late to escape Dalton with a 58-54 win.
"I'm just proud of how our guys battled. It stings, because we should have won," Christian Heritage head coach Tyler Watkins said. "This is a big opportunity for our school. I think we can learn a lot from this one."
The star-studded team boasts two players taller than 6-feet-10-inches -- Okpara and Bretner Mutombo -- and a handful of players with scholarship offers at colleges such as Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.
After Hamilton Heights got out to a lead in the first two quarters, Jax Abernathy and Nash Bingham nailed timely shots at the end of the third to give the Lions a lead entering the fourth quarter.
Abernathy finished with 20, while Bingham had 13. Evan Lester chipped in eight, including a tip-in at the halftime buzzer cut the Hamilton Heights lead to 29-26 at the break.
Hamilton Heights switched back to a full-court press, which gave Christian Heritage a few early problems, late in the fourth, and rode a few steals and deflections to take back the advantage for good with 47 seconds left in the game.
"This is all preparation for getting into region play," Watkins said. "If you're going to make a deep run in Class A Private, you're going to have to go through teams that look like that."
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 57, Coahulla Creek 34
Coahulla Creek (6-3, 3-2 Region 6-3A) lost at region foe Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (5-2, 3-1 Region 6-3A) on the road Friday 57-34.
Northwest Whitfield 53, Cedartown 50
Northwest Whitfield (5-3, 2-1 Region 7-4A) edged region opponent Cedartown (1-3, 1-1 Region 7-4A) on the road Friday 53-50.
The Bruins play at Murray County Monday at 6 p.m.
Sonoraville 56, North Murray 50
North Murray (0-6, 0-4 Region 6-3A) fell just shy of undefeated Sonoraville (4-0, 3-0 Region 6-3A) at home Friday, falling 56-50.
The Mountaineers next play at Bremen on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Coahulla Creek 67, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 48
Coahulla Creek (9-1, 5-1 Region 6-3A) topped winless region opponent Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (0-6, 0-3 Region 6-3A) on the road Friday 67-48.
Heritage 50, Christian Heritage 39
Christian Heritage (4-3) fell to Ringgold's Heritage (7-4) 50-39 in a game played in a holiday event at Chickamauga's Gordon Lee High School Friday.
Murray County 50, Adairsville 36
Murray County (3-1, 2-1 Region 6-3A) pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Adairsville (2-7, 0-5 Region 6-3A) on the road Friday.
The Lady Indians outscored Adairsville 17-9 in the final frame to secure the win.