For the third time in as many seasons, the Sacred Heart boys’ basketball team met Central Plains with lots on the line.
In March 2016, the Knights and Oilers met in the the semi-finals of the 2A State Tournament. Last year, Sacred Heart hosted Central Plains in a rematch. In the first two meetings Sacred Heart won both.
Unfortunately for the Knights, part-III of the showdown with the Oilers did not go their way, as Central Plains won 53-45 in a battle of top-five ranked teams in class 2A.
Things started off well for the Knights, as Charlie Skidmore opened the game with back-to-back 3s. Sacred Heart tacked on a two, to take an 8-0 advantage early.
Central Plains would answer right back as Sacred Heart began to cool off. The Oilers led 10-8 after one and after a back-and-forth second quarter, Central Plains led 23-22 at halftime.
The third quarter is where the Knights are going to be kicking themselves. Central Plains outscored Sacred Heart 15-4 in the quarter. Coupled with shots that weren’t dropping, Sacred Heart also committed eight fouls in the quarter to just one of Central Plains.
To top it all off, Sacred Heart was called for a technical foul towards the end of the period, awarding Central Plains a five-point possession. After three, Central Plains led 38-26.
Sacred Heart would rally in the final quarter. Led by Skidmore and Trace Leners, Sacred Heart cut the lead down to five-points with three minutes to go.
However, Central Plains would close out Sacred Heart, as the Knights couldn’t overcome an ice-cold shooting night.
Top ranked Central Plains (7-0) was led in scoring by Alex Barton with 15 points, while Alex Hickel added in 14.
No. 4 Sacred Heart (5-2, 2-0 NCAA) collected 18 points from Skidmore and 13 from Grant Herrenbruck. No other Knight would register more than six points.
Sacred Heart will have to bounce back quickly for Thursday against Southeast of Saline.
Central Plains 80, SACRED HEART 21
The Sacred Heart girls’ basketball team had a colossal task in front of them Tuesday night.
Not only did the Knights have to try to slow down the no. 2 ranked team in 2A, they also had to slow Central Plains’ top scorer, Emily Ryan, who came in averaging around 40 PPG.
Central Plains was just too good. Central Plains forced 16 Sacred Heart first half turnovers on their way to a 34 point first quarter and a 49-16 lead at halftime.
Sacred Heart would only score four points in the second half as the Lady Oiler defense was suffocating.
Central Plains (7-0) had four scorers in double-figures, led by Ryan with 31 points. Delaney Rugan scored 15, Avery Hurley had 12 and Rachel Lamatsch finished with 10 points.
Sacred Heart (2-5, 1-1 NCAA) had no scorers in double-figures. Anna Ivey had 6 points to lead the way.
It’ll be another installment of the ‘Saline County Rivalry’ on Thursday night at Southeast of Saline High School as Sacred Heart comes calling. Coverage begins at 5:45 with Countdown to Tipoff and tip times are 6/7:30 p.m. Live coverage is on FM 104.9.