E.A. Sports Today

Cardinals bring ‘Showtime’ to Donoho

Sacred Heart’s Wood and Nolan team up for two alley-oops off the backboard on consecutive possessions in 91-44 rout of Donoho

Sacred Heart's Diante Wood (1) throws down one of his alley-oop dunks against Donoho. Kevion Nolan (23) delivered the pass. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Sacred Heart’s Diante Wood (1) throws down one of his alley-oop dunks against Donoho. Kevion Nolan (23) delivered the pass. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

It started with a whisper … and maybe a wink.

Sacred Heart’s Diante Wood and Kevion Nolan have this understanding. When Nolan gets the ball in the forecourt and it looks like Wood has a clear path to the basket, the guard has an open invitation to toss it off the backboard for Wood to finish off a thunderous dunk.

“Then it’s showtime, baby,” Nolan said.

It brings the crowd to its feet and demoralizes the competition.

Wood and Nolan brought Showtime to Donoho’s gym Tuesday, working the alley-oop to perfection on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter of the Cardinals’ 91-44 rout of the Falcons.

It went something like this: Nolan steal, flip off the backboard, slam; Nolan steal, flip off the backboard, slam.

“When they get it, they don’t just throw it,” Wood said. “We make eye contact and when we make the right eye contact they know to throw it. We’ve been playing with each other long enough to know that.”

Wood got another one later in the game – this time, courtesy of Kavarri Ross — and this one was even more demonstrative, with Wood showing more of his athleticism by taking off the foul line.

“I think the athleticism part is the back end of it,” Sacred Heart coach Ralph Graves said. “Having the timing, the coordination, the skill set to actually throw it and to catch, that’s more important than the athleticism. That’s just a tremendous part from those kids and I know they get excited about doing that.”

The dunks were part of a 40-point game by the Cardinals post. He also had 16 rebounds and two blocked shots, but don’t call him a center, even though he takes the opening tip and plays down low. Graves sees Wood in the big picture more as a guard – and the way the sophomore handled the basketball and shot the 3 justified his coach’s assertion.

Wood was 18-of-25 from the field. He scored 17 points in the first quarter and the Cardinals’ first 11 points in the fourth quarter.

“Diante did extremely well; he played at a really high level today,” Graves said. “Hopefully a lot of people can come see him that he is a guard. Everybody says he’s the post, he’s a 5; he’s bringing the ball up the court the whole game, but nobody sees that — they have amnesia for that.

“He’s a guard. If you’re not 6-8, 6-9, you’re not a center; 6-8, 6-9 is really a forward. Only around here where there are 6-foot post players (is Wood a center). He can play multiple position; his versatility is very high.”

Nolan finished with 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals. Ross had 15 points.

The Cardinals played without star guard D.J. Heath, excused from the game to attend standardized test taking boot camp. Jaylin Croft started in his place and, playing his first game of the season, scored five points.

Jacob Lecroy and Robert Clausen had 12 points apiece for Donoho.

Sacred Heart 91, Donoho 44

SACRED HEART – Diante Wood 18 3-3 40, Kavarri Ross 5 5-6 15, Sam Miller 2 2-2 6, Murdock Simmons 2 0-0 4, Caleb Lafollette 0 0-0 0, Stephen Stansil 0 0-0 0, JonRiley Miller 0 0-0 0, Kevion Nolan 7 3-4 21, Jaylin Croft 2 0-0 5. Totals 36 13-15 91.

DONOHO – Reaves Nelson 1 0-0 2, Dylan Dunaway 0 0-0 0, Jacob Lecroy 5 0-0 12, Garrett Steed 1 3-10 5, Ross Svensen 0 0-0 0, Mateen Ibrahim 0 0-0 0, Joseph O’Neill 1 0-0 2, Ross Hagan 2 0-0 5, Tucker Sedmak 1 0-0 2, Coleman Jones 0 0-0 0, Wilson Russell 1 0-0 2, Walton Montgomery 1 0-0 2, Robert Clausen 5 2-3 12. Totals 18 5-13 44.

Sacred Heart 26 25 27 13 — 91
Donoho 10 12 15 7 — 44

3-point goals: Sacred Heart 6 (Wood, Nolan, Croft); Donoho 3 (Lecroy 2, Hagan). Total fouls: Sacred Heart 15, Donoho 15. Officials: Smith, Gamble, Allen.

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