January 19th, 2019

Sacred Heart Knocks Off No. 2 Ryle 71-66

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Sacred Heart Knocks Off No. 2 Ryle 71-66
Sacred Heart defeated 2nd ranked Ryle/ photo by Jeff Woods

If there is such a thing as a signature win, Sacred Heart got it Friday night.

The Valkyries defeated second-ranked Ryle 71-66 to earn their sixth straight win entering Sunday’s showdown against arch rival Assumption.

“It’s a big win for us,” said Sacred Heart senior Ashlee Harris. “As a young team, I think this gives us confidence that anything is possible and we can go up against the top teams in the city and the state.”

“I think we’ve matured a lot and that’s important for us,” said Sacred Heart head coach Donna Moir. “Tonight was a night where we had to go to Kristen (Clemons), and Ashlee (Harris) was hot, and we fed them the ball. Defensively, we got some stops. They followed the game plan, and that was good to see.”

Sacred Heart (12-5) enjoyed a 39-26 lead early in the third quarter, but it did not last. Ryle closed the gap to five by the end of the third quarter, and eventually took a one-point lead with 4:30 left to play. Junior Kristen Clemons responded on the other end with two of her team-high 21 points to get the lead right back. It was the start of a 6-0 run that put the Valkyries on top for good.

“They got the lead, and we didn’t panic,” said Moir. “We came down and made a nice shot and held our composure, which shows signs of maturity.”

Sacred Heart’s freshmen have shown the ability to make key contributions all season long. On Friday, the freshman to step up was Josie Gilvin. She scored six points in the fourth quarter, including two huge layups with less than two minutes to go to help the Valkyries keep the Raiders at bay.

“She’s solid,” said Moir, “I think it helped her that she ran cross country and did so well and got right into that varsity competition. She’s a gamer. Defensively, she changes things too because she’s so long and active.”

Clemons led the Sacred Heart attack in the first half. She was seven-of-nine from the floor and scored 14 of her 21 points in the first two periods. As a team, the Valkyries shot almost 58 percent in the first half.

“We got it into the Kristen, and then they started face-guarding her late in the second quarter and then the whole rest of the game,” said Moir. “But obviously when you get it in there, and she finishes so well. Her footwork is awesome. We just fed off of that. It just gave us a lot of confidence.”

Ashlee Harris finished with 20 points and seven assists. Junior Destinee Marshall also finished in double figures with 14 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

Maddie Scherr led Ryle (18-3) with a game-high 28 points and ten rebounds. Lauren Schwartz also posted a double-double with 21 points and 13 boards.

No matter the circumstance, a win over a top-five team is significant. For the Valkyries, a squad which spent much of the early season figuring things out with a young roster, the victory could prove to be a huge turning point in Sacred Heart’s season.

“It can take us to another level,” said Harris “But we have to learn from this game and what we did right to move forward.”

“The last couple of years, we’ve always been the favorite. You come in every game, and everybody is looking to knock you off,” said Moir. “Ryle had a better ranking than us, so it was kind of nice to say ‘Hey we don’t have anything to lose. Even though we’re Sacred Heart, we’re the underdogs here and let’s just go get it.’ And they came out and responded to the crowd. The atmosphere was great. I think it’s going to benefit both our teams down the stretch.”

 

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