A 20-0 run to end the first half for Sacred Heart ended up being the deciding factor on Tuesday night, as the Knights beat Russell on the road, 61-41.
Although Sacred Heart was undefeated inside of NCAA play and on a 36-game league winning streak, while Russell came in at 0-8 in league play; Russell came ready to play and pushed the Knights right off the bat.
Sacred Heart ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 14-6 after one. Russell would make things interesting to start the second quarter though, as the Broncos scored the first four points of the quarter to get the lead down to 14-10.
That is where the Sacred Heart run would begin. Led by Trace Leners’ defense and Tate Herrenbruck off of the bench with a 3-pointer, sparked Sacred Heart to go on a massive run to end the first half. Both Caleb Jordan and Charlie Skidmore were on their game as both helped pace the way for the Knights in the first half to give Sacred Heart a 34-10 lead at half.
It appeared that the Knights were ready to cruise to another blowout league win, but poor offense coupled with turnovers–18 total on the night–helped Russell rally. Russell’s Austin Price had some clutch shots in the third quarter to help the Broncos outscore Sacred Heart 19-12 in the period.
Russell at one point in the fourth quarter would trim the SH lead down to 13, however, Sacred Heart would eventually pull away for their ninth league win on the year and one step closer to their fourth-straight North Central Activities Association league title.
Russell (4-13, 0-9 NCAA) would never lead in the game. The Broncos had one scorer in double-figures with Price scoring 13 points.
Sacred Heart (13-3, 9-0 NCAA) played the final three-plus quarters without senior forward, Grant Herrenbruck, who left the game with an injury. However, the Knights had another balanced scoring effort. Skidmore and C. Jordan both combined for 18 points each.
The Salina Ortho “Player of the Game” was Sacred Heart’s Leners, who finished with 11 points–his second consecutive game in double-figures–all while playing great defense by forcing several Russell turnovers that led to easy Sacred Heart buckets. Next, Sacred Heart returns home on Friday to host Council Grove.
Russell 62, SACRED HEART 30
For the seventh-straight game, the Sacred Heart girls’ basketball team was held to below the 40 point threshold as the Knights lost to Russell on Tuesday night at Amos Morris Gym in Russell.
The game got off to a very slow start, but Russell would quickly heat up, led by their junior guard, Tiffany Dortland.
Dortland would push Russell to a 12-4 end of first quarter lead and a 29-10 lead at halftime.
Turnovers once again killed the Knights. Sacred Heart ended up with 31 of them–20 in the first half alone, as the Knights would never challenge in the game.
Russell (15-2, 8-1 NCAA) moves in to a momentary half-game lead over Beloit in the NCAA league title hunt. The Lady Broncos were led by Dortland with her career-best 31 points. Jaclyn Schulte also had 12 points.
Sacred Heart (4-12, 3-6 NCAA) remains in soul possession of fourth place in the league standings. The Knights had no one in double-figures as both Hannah Goetz and Teghan Slagle led the way with six points each. Slagle was named the game’s Salina Ortho “Player of the Game” with her offensive production and energy on the both sides of the ball.
Next up for Sacred Heart, the Knights host the Council Grove Braves in a non-league affair on Friday night. Game times are at 6/7:30 on FM 104.9.