E.A. Sports Today

Cardinals clipped in Steel City semis

No. 1-1A Sacred Heart falls to No. 3-6A Homewood 66-54, will play Ramsay in first of back-to-back meetings Tuesday night

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

HOMEWOOD — Sacred Heart beat Bessemer City and the almost unstoppable 7A Mountain Brook Spartans before its luck finally ran out against Homewood in the semifinals of the Steel City Invitational Monday.

The expectations for this Cardinals team no matter the opponent are still the same — go win ball games.

The Cardinals’ outstanding play hit a setback Monday as they fell to third-ranked 6A Homewood 66-54 at Samford University.

Towering 6-9 Patriot Trey Jemison challenged the speed and play of Sacred Heart juniors DJ Heath and Kevion Nolan who kept the Cards (10-5) in it in the first half and brought them back late in the second.

Drawing fouls while draining 3s, Heath dazzled the crowd in the Pete Hanna Center to the dismay of the Homewood faithful. Heath did not score in the second half though.

Sacred Heart coach Ralph Graves was not impressed with his team’s performance, believing his team could have made it to the championship.

“I don’t feel like it was a run,” Graves said. “We’re good, too, and this is a normal thing for us. We don’t play for nothing. We play to win.”

Heath, usually the centerpiece of any Sacred Heart story, had 14 points in the first half and drained a 3 at the buzzer to keep the top-ranked 1A Cardinals within two. This was the closest they came through to the Patriots (13-1), who went an astonishing 16 for 19 in the game from the free-throw line.

The Cardinals play for third place Tuesday night.

“We’ve got a game against Ramsay tomorrow,” said Graves. “Then we are going to go down to Montgomery the next day and play them again, in the Dwight Madison. We have to talk more. I was the only one talking. We will change it when we get back to practice. If not, we will get beat again.”

Junior Luke Touliatos was solid for Homewood, mixing constant passing and fundamentally sound execution; he finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Jemison had 15 points, nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

The Pats shot nearly 50 percent from the field in the game, 6-of-17 from 3-point range, and out rebounded Sacred Heart 37-29. The Cardinals shot 31 percent for the game and were just 7-of-30 from beyond the arc.

“You have to give Homewood credit, Graves said. “They played a great game.”

Kevion Nolan, coming off a 31-point game against Mountain Brook, had a big second half for Sacred Heart. He had 20 points and nine rebounds and drained two big 3’s down the stretch to get the Cardinals within two with 4:20 left in the game.

Fouls scarred the Cardinals though, as Homewood reached the double bonus with 1:30 to play. The Patriots made the ensuing free throws, which took the lead to six before a steal and dunk by Jemison brought the Cards’ run to an end.

The Cardinals will play Ramsay in the third-place game Tuesday. The Rams lost to J.O. Johnson in the other semifinal. JOJ and Homewood will play for the title at 8 p.m.

“There is no magic,” Graves said. “There is no secret formula, and it’s that way for everybody.”

Homewood 66, Sacred Heart 54

SACRED HEART (11-5) – Diante Wood 4-11 2-2 10, Kavarri Ross 2-12 0-0 6, Murdock Simmons 0-7 1-2 1, D.J. Heath 5-11 2-4 14, Kevion Nolan 5-13 7-8 20, Sam Miller 1-1 1-2 3, Stansil Stephen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 13-18 54.

HOMEWOOD (13-1) – Austin Patterson 3-5 4-4 11, Will Mizerany 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Touliatos 6-16 1-3 16, Peyton Brown 2-3 0-0 5, Trey Jemison 5-7 5-6 15, Ronald Claiborne 2-3 4-4 9, C.D. Daniels 0-2 0-0 0, Andrew Cleveland 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Padgett 0-3 0-0 0, Chris Miller 4-5 2-2 10. Totals 22-45 16-19 66.

Sacred Heart 9 16 8 21 — 54
Homewood 11 16 17 22 — 66

3-point goals: Sacred Heart 7-30 (Wood 0-2, Ross 2-11, Simmons 0-6, Heath 2-4, Nolan 3-7); Homewood 6-17 (Patterson 1-2, Touliatos 3-8, Brown 1-1, Claiborne 1-2, Daniels 0-1, Cleveland 0-1, Padgett 0-2). Rebounds: Sacred Heart 29 (Nolan 9, Heath 7); Homewood 37 (Jemison 9, Touliatos 8). Technical fouls: Sacred Heart. Total fouls: Sacred Heart 17, Homewood 15.

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