"It was very ugly, but we survived," Lady Canes coach Donna Enis said after the game.
Cartersville entered the fourth quarter with a 45-36 lead and pushed ahead even further just a minute into the quarter.
That momentum, however, did not last long.
"The bad part of it is we had a 14-point lead, 52-36, with 6:57 to go in the fourth quarter," Enis said. "They hit a couple of 3-pointers. [In the] fourth quarter, they hit four 3-pointers. We had some defensive breakdowns, gave up some easy shots and just let 'em back in the ball game.
"Heritage did a good job, they shot the ball pretty well and you've got to give them credit because they played a good ball game."
Scorers for Cartersville were Adrienne Green, 17; Jazmine Baldwin, 11; Carlee Bragg, 10; Stefanie Will, 9; Katie O'Connor, 4; Kaelyn Irby, 4; Kea Garnigan, 3; and April Gary, 2.
The Lady Canes trailed 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, but did manage to carry a 27-25 lead into intermission.
Enis said her team did not practice on Sunday, which is customary.
"I don't know if that contributed to [how we played] ... but we just never got into rhythm offensively or defensively," she said. "Coming in on Monday, it's hard to go into [a] tournament."
"The game plan going in was to keep everything pretty simple, not show too much, and expand as the week went on."
With disaster averted, the Lady Canes can continue along that path Wednesday when they play Southeast Whitfield, whom they beat 57-46 Dec. 7.
A win would qualify Cartersville for the Georgia High School Association's state tournament, a good accomplishment for a youthful team, Enis acknowledged.
"I think it would [be] huge for us ... to win on Wednesday to make [the] state tournament," she said.
The game tips off at 4 p.m.