E.A. Sports Today

Making them think about it

Cardinals score another impressive local win that could improve their county seeding

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The coaches and players in the Sacred Heart basketball program say they didn’t come into the game thinking about any specific seeding in the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament, but the Cardinals made a pretty strong final case to be a top three – if not No. 1 – Saturday night.

The Cardinals got off to a slow start offensively, but their defense remained steady and once they got cranking they rolled to a 71-35 victory over Donoho in their final game before Sunday’s county tournament seeding meeting.

Some might argue the team’s 11-8 overall record isn’t worthy of such a lofty seed, but the Cardinals don’t play a schedule typical of its Calhoun County counterparts regardless of classification. They are undefeated against county competition this year and one could argue with some validity they have the best collection of basketball talent in the county.

“We don’t want to be the No. 1 seed, we want to finish the No. 1,” Cardinals coach Ralph Graves said. “That stuff right there, that’s for politicians, sportswriters and stuff like that; we’re not concerned with that. We’re more concerned with how we play, not a seed. … Hopefully everything will work out for the best.”

The county coaches will seed the top six teams for the tournament and then blind draw for the remaining nine spots and first-round pairings. What determines the criteria is in the mind’s of the voters; in a recently concluded poll on East Alabama Sports Today, county fans voted Alexandria as their No. 1 seed in the boys tournament; Sacred Heart was the fifth most-popular choice.

“We didn’t come into the game thinking about seedings; we just came to play,” Cardinals guard Kavarri Ross said. “A lot of people underestimate our team because we’re a smaller school, so we’re trying to prove ourselves. We come to play regardless.”

Ross and D.J. Heath scored 21 points apiece to lead the Cardinals. Kevion Nolan had 13 (with three 3-pointers) and Diante Wood had 10 – all in the second half. Justin Foster led Donoho with 14 points.

On this night, the Cardinals got off to a slow start filling the net, but made up for it with a tenacious defense that kept them in front until the offense came around. Donoho didn’t score its first field goal in the second quarter until 2:01 before halftime, and by then Sacred Heart had a 28-8 lead.

“You’re going to have some valleys and you’re going to have some mountains (with your shot),” Graves said. “The defense needs to play that way all the time, so that was a good thing that they did and I’m proud of them for that.”

But to be a truly dominant team, all the elements need to be in place.

“We’re going to get it together in practice,” Heath said. “We’ve got a couple more games before County and we plan to beat everybody by 20-plus and make a statement.”

Sacred Heart 71, Donoho 35

SACRED HEART (11-8) – Diante Wood 4 1-1 10, Kavarri Ross 7 6-7 21, Darrin Wood 0 0-2 0, D.J. Heath 8 3-5 21, Bradley Mayfield 1 0-0 3, Keith Orlowski 0 0-0 0, Kevion Nolan 5 0-0 13, Jackson Orlowski 0 0-0 0, Tucker Norman 1 0-0 3. Totals 26 10-15 71.

DONOHO – Bret Holmes 0 1-2 1, Garrett Steed 0 0-0 0, Schuyler Buckner 0 1-2 1, Axis Heathcock 2 2-5 6, Robert Clausen 2 0-2 4, Parker Morgan 4 0-0 9, Justin Foster 5 4-9 14. Totals 13 8-20 35.

Donoho 8 7 8 12 — 35
Sacred Heart 12 22 20 17 — 71

3-point goals: Donoho 1 (Morgan); Sacred Heart 10 (Di. Wood 2, Ross, Heath 2, Mayfield, Nolan 3, Norman). Total fouls: Donoho 13, Sacred Heart 18. Fouled out: K. Orlowski.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login