The boys’ game of Sacred Heart and Ellsworth is one for the books.
With Sacred Heart’s 39-game league winning streak and Ellsworth’s 8-game winning streak on the line, something had to give. It just took regulation and three OTs to figure every out.
At the end Sacred Heart stood triumphant with an 80-74 3OT victory to give the Knights their 40th North Central Activities Association league win in-a-row.
The first half was controlled by Sacred Heart until the end. Sacred Heart held a 14 point lead at one point, but Ellsworth dominated the last four minutes of the second quarter and surged to take a 38-37 on Sacred Heart’s senior night.
The Knights came out of the the locker room ready to go on a run in the second half. Led by Caleb Jordan’s 3-pointers and tight defense, the Knights surged to a seven point lead and would lead 51-46 going to the final quarter.
Sacred Heart led most of the fourth quarter, but Remington Cravens and Avery Haxton for Ellsworth made clutch 3s down the stretch to tie the game. Each team had a chance to win the game in regulation, but neither could do so and the game was headed to OT tied at 60-60.
In the first OT period, both teams wanted to run the clock down with their offense. Ellsworth won the tip and held the ball for a full minute before missing a shot. Sacred Heart got the rebound and would hold the ball for three-plus minutes. With under one minute left in the first OT, Sacred Heart’s Cole Elmore would try and drive in to the lane, but dribbled off of his foot out of bounds for a turnover.
Ellsworth then had a chance to win, but the Bearcats turned it over. Sacred Heart answered with a turnover of their own with under 5-seconds left and Ellsworth didn’t have time to get a quality look before the buzzer sounded. The game was headed for a second OT period with no one scoring in the first OT.
In the second OT, both team’s scrapped the patient, stalling offenses and went right at each other’s defenses. Sacred Heart’s C. Jordan began to blow by Ellsworth defenders and got to the bucket with ease. It appeared Sacred Heart was ready to squash Ellsworth once and for all when the Knights took at 68-64 lead with two minutes left in the second OT.
However, the gritty Bearcats would keep coming. Ellsworth’s stellar freshman, Haxton hit a 3-pointer for his 17th point on the night to get the game back to within one. Sacred Heart would run the clock down to 40-seconds before Ellsworth fouled C. Jordan; making both of his FTs.
Sacred Heart held a 70-67 lead with 40-seconds left in the second OT. Ellsworth raced the ball down in to the front court and after running some quick offense, Cravens ran to the right wing and made a miraculous fade away 3-pointer to tie the game back up at 70-70 with 17-seconds to go.
The Knights would once again turn the ball over with under 2-seconds in OT and once again, Ellsworth didn’t get a quality look before the buzzer sounded, so the game headed to a third OT period.
C. Jordan had had enough and decided to put the team on his back in the third OT, Jordan would continue to drive and draw fouls, but he made back-to-back and-one layups to give Sacred Heart some breathing room. Ellsworth didn’t have enough shots in them and Sacred Heart made their FTs to prevail in what was one of the most entertaining high schools games of the season.
Ellsworth (14-6, 8-4 NCAA) had four scorers in double-figures. Jordan Base led the way with 23 points, Haxton had 17, Cravens finished with 15, while Grant Gwinner fouled out, but finished with 12. Ellsworth next heads to the Minneapolis 3A substate where they will likely be a top three seed.
Sacred Heart (17-3, 12-0 NCAA) grinded out their second tough league game in the last two weeks. C. Jordan had a new career-high with 33 points scored. Cole Elmore continued to torment the Bearcats with 18 points and Charlie Skidmore scored 10. The Salina Ortho “Player of the Game” was C. Jordan.
Sacred Heart gets a week off before they host the first round of substate. The Knights will be the top seed in the 2A Belleville tournament and will likely face either Ell-Saline or Lincoln in the first round.
Ellsworth 49, SACRED HEART 31
The Sacred Heart girls’ team kept close in the first quarter by only trailing 9-6 at the end of the period. But too many turnovers began to rack up as Sacred Heart would turn the ball over 16 times in the first half alone for Ellsworth to run away with the game.
Ellsworth’s Kolby Davis was the main benefactor of the Knights’ mistakes as she would take the steal the other direction in for an easy layup. That was the story several times for Davis as she would lead Ellsworth with 17 points on Tuesday night.
Sacred Heart would turn the ball over 23 times on the night and would never threaten in the second half.
Ellsworth (15-5, 9-3 NCAA) also saw Jaide Talbott score 12 points on the ballgame.
Sacred Heart (4-16, 3-9 NCAA) was led by Ally Cochran with 12 points. She finished as the game’s Salina Ortho “Player of the Game.”
Up next for Sacred Heart’s girls’ basketball team, they will likely be the six or seven seed in the 2A Belleville substate, which means the Knights will go on the road in the first round of the tournament, either to Smith Center or Bennington. Rocking M Media will carry both Sacred Heart boys’ and girls’ substate action.
Stay tuned to KSAL.com as we will update the 2A substate brackets on Wednesday.