In what was a game in high anticipation for both Sacred Heart and Republic County girls’ squads, both knew that they would have to compete better if they wanted to win on Tuesday night.
Luckily for Sacred Heart, the Knights did just that, behind a smothering defense on their way to a 43-29 to get back to .500 in league play.
The first quarter was unlike the rest of the game. Both teams would move the ball up and down the floor all period in a higher scoring affair that was knotted up at 10-10 after one.
Sacred Heart then ratcheted up the defensive execution as the young Lady Buffaloes had no answer for the Sacred Heart zone defense. The Knights would use key shots from Catherine Marak and Hannah Goetz to outscore Republic County in the second frame, 14-3 to take a 24-13 lead in to the locker room.
The stifling defense continued in to the third stanza as the Lady Buffs were held to just 4 points in the third period and just 7 total points over a two quarter span for Sacred Heart to take a commanding 33-17 lead in to the stanza of the game.
Republic County hung tough, but Sacred Heart’s defense and timely scoring were too much and the Knights were able to pick up their third win of the season at home.
Republic County (1-7, 1-4 NCAA) hardly had anyone score more than 5 points until Sadee Graves heated up in the fourth quarter to hit three-straight 3-pointers to end her night with 11 points.
Sacred Heart (3-7, 2-2 NCAA) had yet another balanced scoring effort with Goetz leading the way with 11 points. Amber Palen scored 7, while Anna Ivey added in 6 points for the Knights. Sacred Heart travels to a tough Ellsworth team on Friday.
SACRED HEART 65, Republic County 39
In what was another tale of two halves for the Sacred Heart boys’ basketball team, they turned a close game in to a laugher all in the third quarter.
Sacred Heart struggled at the start. Every time the Knights would score, Republic County would have an answer. And when the Knights did get a stop defensively, they did not execute offensively. Still, Sacred Heart led 12-7 at the end of the first.
Sacred Heart led 25-17 at halftime, when a visibly frustrated Sacred Heart coach, Pat Martin, was able to ramp up his defense’s intensity by switching to a 1-3-1 zone in the third quarter.
The move worked after the Knights rattled off several steals and easy lay-ups in a row. Still, the Buffs needed a final knock out blow.
Led by Charlie Skidmore and Trace Leners’ defense and Caleb Jordan’s continued hot shooting, the Knights blasted the Buffs in the third quarter, outscoring them 21-10, for a comfortable 46-27 lead going to the final quarter.
Republic County (4-5, 1-4 NCAA) fought hard the whole way through, but didn’t have answers for the Sacred Heart onslaught. The Buffs were paced by McKenzie Cromwell’s 16 points, with Nick Allsman adding in 10.
Sacred Heart (7-3, 4-0) had actually dropped out of the 2A state rankings for the first time this season after beginning the year as the no. 1 ranked team in the class, rebounded from their Saturday loss at Hays TMP with a balanced scoring effort. C. Jordan led the way with 19 points, Cole Elmore had 11 points and Skidmore finished with 10.
Sacred Heart plays another tough road game on Friday as they travel to Ellsworth to take on the Bearcats. Pregame is 5:45 p.m. with tip times at 6/7:30 on FM 104.9.