E.A. Sports Today

Cardinals first step

Heath, Nolan lead top-seeded, top-ranked Sacred Heart to easy victory in its Calhoun County Tournament debut

Kevion Nolan (23) drives around Piedmont’s Cardamon Myers during Sacred Heart’s county tournament win Tuesday. Nolan and D.J. Heath (cover) led the Cardinals to a 79-64 victory. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/KrispPics Photography)

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Sacred Heart, with its standard 1-2 punch of Kevion Nolan and D.J Heath, made quick work of the Piedmont Bulldogs in a quarterfinal match up in the 2017 Calhoun County Tournament on Tuesday night 79-46.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Cardinals will play White Plains in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

From the start of the game, Nolan punished the Bulldogs, showing off his immense talent as he drained basket after basket with Piedmont reeling as early as three minutes into the game.

Nolan scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished the first half with 15 that gave Sacred Heart a 17-point cushion at the half.

With Nolan’s points padding an already impressive lead, the second half became all about Heath. The senior guard scorched through the Bulldogs defense that struggled to keep pace and finished he dropped 20 in the half.

Nolan ended the night with 19 points and five rebounds while Heath ended with 31 points.

“You can’t say enough about the way Heath played in the second half,” Cardinals coach Ralph Graves said. “One night it can be one guy, and another night it can be another guy. What if it’s a night where it’s all of them? You don’t determine that. The flow of the game determines that, and tonight that is just the way it played out.”

Junior transfer Dakota Myers scored 13 points in the matchup and had nine rebounds and proved to be the driving force behind the stellar Cardinal defense that held the Bulldogs to just six points in the third quarter.

“The intensity was there in the second half,” Graves said. “Once we got the score where we wanted it, and we started playing man-to-man more, it started to happen for us.”

Piedmont was led in scoring by senior Easton Kirk, who had 10 points and five rebounds. Michael Hayes and Austin Brazier had nine and seven points respectively; eight different Bulldogs scored.

Sacred Heart will now move on to the semifinals as they look for redemption from last year’s tournament finals defeat at the hands of Anniston. But as in typical Sacred Heart fashion, the Cardinals are just taking it one game at a time while thoughts of last year are far in the rearview mirror.

“We are just going to come out and do what we do against White Plains,” Graves said. “We aren’t going to change anything we do for White Plains. We are going to play the way that we play, and it is either going to be good enough, or it’s not.”

Sacred Heart 79, Piedmont 46
A.J. Fairs 4 2-3 11, Cardavion Myers 1 3-4 5, Taylor Hayes 4 0-0 9, Derrick Baer 0 0-0 0, Easton Kirk 4 0-0 9, Carl Myers 1 0-0 2, Lee Stanley 0 0-0 0, Shane McCord 0 0-0 0, Austin Brazier 3 1-4 7, T.J. Fairs 0 1-2 1, Kaedon Jenkins 0 1-2 1. Totals 17 8-15 46.

SACRED HEART – Jaylin Croft 0 0-0 0, Diante Wood 1 0-0 2, Murdock Simmons 1 0-0 2, D.J. Heath 11 6-7 31, Caleb Lafollette 0 0-0 0, Dakota Myers 6 1-2 13, Stephen Stansil 2 0-0 5, Jon Ross Miller 0 0-0 0, Kevion Nolan 7 0-0 19, Khalil Watkins 3 1-1 7. Totals 33 8-10 79.

Piedmont 12 13 6 5 — 46
Sacred Heart 24 18 19 18 — 79

3-point goals: Piedmont 4 (A. Fairs, Hayes, Kirk 2); Sacred Heart 5 (Heath 3, Stancil, Nolan). Total fouls: Piedmont 11, Sacred Heart 16.

Sacred Heart’s Dakota Myers scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds Tuesday night. To see more of Kristen Stringer’s photos from this game, visit www.krisppicsphotography.photoreflect.com

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