E.A. Sports Today

Miracle before Mass

Sacred Heart’s girls rally from 21 down in third quarter to win, looking for a No. 2 seed in the upcoming county tournament

By Al Muskewitz/East Alabama Sports Today

There probably weren’t many in the building who gave the Sacred Heart girls much of a chance when coach Marcus Harrell called time midway through the third quarter trailing a top 10 team by 21 points.

But the break gave Harrell a chance to make one last appeal to his players to get back in the game and salvage a Saturday afternoon.

Whatever he told them clicked. The Lady Cardinals came roaring back against 3A No. 9 Prattville Christian and not only wiped out their deficit but won the game 70-61, finishing up just in time to attend Saturday Mass to give thanks for the miracle to which they had just been a party.

“It’s something special, honestly,” Harrell said, “because the team would have probably quit in the middle of the game last year. We haven’t been down by that many that late in a game this year. I think we got down 14 against Sand Rock, but that was in the first half. When you’re down 21 and you only have a quarter and a half left that’s a pretty good bit.”

The Lady Cardinals (14-2) didn’t really play badly to fall behind by 21 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, and actually led by seven after the first quarter, the Lady Panthers (14-6) were just beating them in transition and hitting a lot of shots.

In the crucial timeout Harrell challenged Jordan Sabree to step up her defense on the visitors’ best player, Kaitlyn Reyes, and Myiah Harris and Ayanna Foster to do likewise on the offensive end.

The Lady Cardinals cut their deficit to 13 by the end of the third quarter and took the lead for good with a minute and a half to play in the game – and never lost. They outscored the Lady Panthers 26-4 in the fourth quarter.

“It just showed how much heart the kids have,” Harrell said. “We drew up a few different things to try to get turnovers and stuff, but for the last quarter and a half they gave everything they had.”

Foster scored 16 of her game-high 26 points in the second half (11 in the fourth quarter). Harris scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half. And Joelle Tillery came off the bench to steadily give them 16 points with three 3-pointers.

Reyes scored 12 points in the third quarter for Prattville Christian and Ella Jane Connell scored 17 in the second quarter. Sabree held Reyes to two points in the fourth and the Lady Cardinals held Connell to five points in the second half.

“The thing it does is it gives you something you can always look back to if you ever find yourself in a hole in the middle of the game,” Harrell said. “It’s a reminder to the players of things that have happened in the past.

“It’s hard to convince people you can come back from down 21 if you’ve never done it before. I think it helped that we were down 14 against No. 1 Sand Rock and came back and forced overtime as well. We told them we’ve been there before. We just have to take it one possession at a time and keep fighting.”

The Lady Cardinals have been one best teams in the county all season, and could earn its first reward for it in Sunday’s county tournament seeding meeting. They are generally expected to pull down a top three seed.

Harrell concedes the No. 1 seed to Anniston, but won’t back down in the debate to be No. 2.

“I think Anniston needs to be the 1; they deserve it,” he said. “This year they’ve played a tough schedule, have a good record and based on their program in general, the consistency of their program. That’s just a top tier team. But after that I do believe we deserve to be the 2 seed.”

The Sacred Heart boys routed the second-ranked Panthers 63-37.

The Cardinals hit five 3-pointers of their seven 3-pointers in the first quarter to open a 23-8 lead. Jayden Stone had three of them while scoring 11 of his 21 points in the quarter to get them started. Jack Miller had 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter.


Sacred Heart 70, Prattville Christian 61

PRATTVILLE CHRISTIAN (14-6) – Ella Jane Connell 9 2-2 24, Victoria DeMaio 0 2-3 2, Lydia Brackins 0 0-0 0, Mary Grace Story 2 0-0 5, Kaitlyn Reyes 9 2-2 20, Jace Haynes 2 0-0 4, Lameria Thomas 2 2-3 6. Totals 24 8-11 61. 

SACRED HEART (14-2) – Alisia Person 1 0-0 3, Myiah Harris 6 2-2 14, Ayanna Foster 11 4-7 26, Cearia Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Joelle Tillery 6 1-2 16, Jordan Sabree 1 4-5 6, Serena Hardy 0 0-0 0, Taysia West 2 0-2 5. Totals 27 11-18 70.

Prattville Christian      11        25        21        4          –          61        

Sacred Heart               18        9          17        26        –          70

3-point goals: Prattville Christian 5 (Connell 4, Story); Sacred Heart 5 (Person, Tillery 3, West). Fouled out: DeMario, Sabree. Total fouls: Prattville Christian 16, Sacred Heart 16. Officials: Montgomery, Askew, Henson.


Sacred Heart 63, Prattville Christian 37

PRATTVILLE CHRISTIAN (17-3) – Preston Cox 0 0-0 0, Ben Segars 3 0-0 7, Michael McCarty 0 0-0 0, B.J. Comer 1 4-6 7, Cooper Meadows 8 1-2 21, Jacob Comer 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 6-10 37.

SACRED HEART – Khalil Watkins 3 0-0 7, Jack Miller 5 2-2 15, Caleb Brown 3 1-2 7, Aaron Moore 5 1-1 11, Jayden Stone 9 0-0 21, Cade Landers 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 4-5 63.

Prattville Christian      8          11        9          9          –          37

Sacred Heart               23        10        19        11        –          63

3-point goals: Prattville Christian 7 (Segars 2, B.J. Comer, Meadows 4); Sacred Heart 7 (Watkins, Miller 3, Stone 3). Total fouls: Prattville Christian 5, Sacred Heart 12. Officials: Askew, Montgomery, Wright.

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