The Minneapolis Lions’ boys team was able to hold off a second-half Sacred Heart rally on Friday night, as the Lions knocked off the unbeaten Knights 51-42.
For the second year in-a-row, both teams entered their first match-up with one-another undefeated and for a second-straight year; both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter.
Minneapolis and Sacred Heart would go back-and-forth in the first quarter, as the Knights’ Alex Disberger and the Lions’ Spencer Davidson went bucket for bucket. Minneapolis clung to a one point lead after the first, 17-16.
The rest of the game, though, was far different.
Both teams’ defenses made adjustments, however, Caleb Gilliland for Sacred Heart and Davidson for Minneapolis would both get in to foul trouble and sit for the majority of the second quarter. Neither team was able to score it much, but the Lions still held a one point advantage, 26-25 at halftime.
The third quarter would be the difference on Friday night, though. Minneapolis’ Trent Moeckel nailed a big 3-pointer, while Nolan White hit some tough shots to pace Minneapolis offensively. Meanwhile, the Lions had clamped down on Disberger. Sacred Heart also shot poorly on Friday as the Knights were ice cold from 3 and did not make a single perimeter shot in the period. The Lions outscored the Knights 14-4 in the third quarter and led 40-29 after three.
Sacred Heart would not be finished though. Both Gilliland and Jacob Gormley drilled 3-pointers to start the comeback. Minneapolis contributed to the effort by throwing the ball away and taking some rushed shots.
The Knights were able to crawl to within four points, 44-40 with a little more than two minutes to play. However, the Knights were never able to get over the hump as their shooting woes continued. Minneapolis ended the game with Moeckel making three of four one-and-one free-throws in the final minute to slam the door shut on Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart (3-1, 1-1 NCAA) had a monster game from Disberger, who finished with a double-double, 17 points and 16 rebounds. Gilliland finished with 11 points in the loss.
Minneapolis (5-0, 1-0 NCAA) wins their second in-a-row over the Knights dating back to last year. Moeckel scored 14 points for the Lions, while White tacked on 12.
Davidson is the Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game” as he finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Lions’ Brody Vance had the H&R “Block of the Game.”
Minneapolis travels to Southeast of Saline on Jan. 8, while Sacred Heart will host Hays TMP.
SACRED HEART GIRLS 37, Minneapolis 35
A last second shot from Minneapolis to tie the game went wide-right and the Knights held off the Lady Lions for their first league win of the year.
The first quarter was high scoring as the Knights hit their first several shots to claim the lead. However, Minneapolis would have answers with Courtney Forte. Still, the Knights led 13-10 after the first quarter.
Both teams cooled off in the second quarter, but Sacred Heart still led 17-15 the break.
Minneapolis was able to chip in to the lead even more in the third quarter as the Lady Lions only trailed 23-22 going in to the final stanza.
The Lady Lions then actually held a four point lead at one point in the final quarter, however, Sacred Heart would save its best for last. Tied at 29-29 with less than two minutes to go, the Knights found Ella Gotti all alone in the left corner. The senior had struggled this year from 3, however, she buried the triple to give the Knights the lead, which they never surrendered. The 3 was Gotti’s only points on the night.
Minneapolis (2-4, 1-1 NCAA) had multiple attempts to tie or take the lead in the final minute but couldn’t get their shots to fall. Leading the Lady Lions on Friday was Cameron Cleveland, who scored 10 points.
Sacred Heart (3-1, 1-1 NCAA) was paced by Ellie Woodall in the second half as she got several big buckets down the stretch to help hold off Minneapolis. Woodall finished the game with 11 points to be the Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game.” She also had the H&R “Block of the Game.”
Up next, Sacred Heart plays on Friday, Jan. 8 and entertains Hays TMP. Minneapolis will travel to Southeast of Saline on the same day. Live coverage of the Trojans and Lions is on 92.7 The New Zoo, beginning at 5:45 p.m.
Image: Koyer Hauck