E.A. Sports Today

Deja vu feels worse

Sacred Heart girls eliminated from Northeast Regional in overtime for the second year in a row, but this one stings more
 
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
JACKSONVILLE –
The players on Sacred Heart’s girls basketball felt pretty bad after they were bounced from the Class 2A Northeast Regionals last year, but this year they felt even worse.
 
The Lady Cardinals were eliminated from the regionals in overtime for the second year in a row as they fell to Sand Rock 62-57 Friday in the Class 2A regional semifinals at Jacksonville State.
 
Last year they were ousted by Fyffe after rallying from 20 points down in the third quarter and hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime. Coach Marcus Harrell called this year’s loss a little bit of déjà vu, but this one left an even deeper hurt because the Lady Cardinals felt like they had this one in control.

“This one probably hurts a lot more than some,” Harrell said. “The one last year hurt really bad, but this one hurt just as bad if not worst because I felt like we really had a legit shot at it.”
 
The Lady Cardinals started cold, hitting only three of their first 22 shots and falling behind by 12 early in the second quarter. But they finally got dialed in and climbed back to within four at halftime.

They led 48-40 at the end of a big third quarter in which Myiah Harris scored 17 points and led a 19-2 run that wiped out a nine-point deficit.
 
“It seemed like everything they threw up during that time went in,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said.
 
At that point Bates challenged her team. The Lady Wildcats responded by dominating the boards, hitting free throws and Kynleigh Chesnut denying Harris. Sacred Heart opened the fourth quarter with four empty possessions and Harris got only three shots the rest of the game. Sand Rock opened the quarter with a 10-0 run to take the lead and it stayed tight the rest of the way.
 
“They stepped it up and rose to the occasion,” Bates said. “One time we got the ‘worry wrinkle’ on our face and we had to get rid of it. We have worry wrinkles and when we get there we don’t make good decision and I had to say ‘Fix your face and get rid of the wrinkle.’
  
Lanie Henderson’s layup with 1:10 left in regulation tied the game at 52. Sacred Heart worked the clock down to 9.7 seconds and called time to set up the end game strategy. The Lady Cardinals had an open layup look but with the clock winding down they got a little confused and Taysia West ended up missing a short jumper with 3.4 seconds left. The rebound went to Sand Rock but the Lady Wildcats couldn’t get back down the floor fast enough to get a final shot.
 
“We had plays drawn up perfectly, we just didn’t execute it when we needed to,” Harrell said. “We got the shot off, but it probably could’ve been an easier shot.”
 
The overtime was tied at 57 with 1:33 to play. Henderson broke the tie when she put back a layup that rolled off the rim and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but Sacred Heart was called for a lane violation. She made the do-over to make it 60-57 and later hit two free throws after a couple more offensive rebounds.
 
“The biggest thing was we just didn’t rebound the ball there towards the end; we gave them a lot of put-backs,” Harrell said. “We pride ourselves on defense and rebounding, we didn’t do it when we needed to.”
 
Sand Rock had three players with double figure rebounds – Henderson (12), Maci Brown (12) and Haley Grace Lisenbee (11). Henderson was the Lady Wildcats’ leading scorer with 27 points.
 
Harris, a player Harrell praised as having phenomenal skill and phenomenal will, led all scorers with 32 points. She was 11-of-20 from the floor, 6-of-13 from 3-point range. Serena Hardy had 13 points and Amiyah Buchanan grabbed 10 rebounds.
 
“We didn’t want tonight to be it,” Harrell said. “This is by far the toughest region. A lot of times whoever comes out of here has a really good chance of winning it all … I just challenged them. I knew we could stand toe-to-toe with them and I felt like we had the best player on the floor, which is Myiah, so we challenged her a little bit and she stepped up when she needed to.”
 
CLASS 2A NORTHEAST REGIONAL
Sand Rock 62, Sacred Heart 57 (OT)
SAND ROCK (24-9) –
Caley Garrett 5-14 1-1 14, Haley Grace Lisenbee 1-10 3-4 6, Lanie Henderson 10-24 2-6 27, Kynleigh Chesnut 2-11 3-8 7, Maci Brown 2-4 1-3 5, McKenna Ballenger 0-0 0-0 0, Lily Middlebrooks 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 21-65 14-24 62.
SACRED HEART (23-8) – Myiah Harris 11-20 4-7 32, Amiyah Buchanan 2-6 0-0 4, Taysia West 1-7 0-0 2, Jordan Sabree 0-5 0-0 0, Serena Hardy 5-11 2-3 13, Alisia Person 2-8 0-0 6, Cearia Jenkins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-58 6-10 57.
 
Sand Rock             11  16 12  12  10  –  62
Sacred Heart        6    17 25  4     5    –  57
3-point goals: Sand Rock 6-25 (Garrett 3-8, Lisenbee 1-6, Henderson 2-9, Chesnut 0-2); Sacred Heart 9-26 (Harris 6-13, Buchanan 0-1, West 0-1, Hardy 1-4, Person 2-6, Jenkins 0-1). Rebounds: Sand Rock 56 (Henderson 12, Brown 12, Lisenbee 11); Sacred Heart 33 (Buchanan 10). Fouled out: West, Sabree. Total fouls: Sand Rock 13, Sacred Heart 19. Officials: Brown, Williams, Loney.

Cover photo of Sacred Heart’s Myiah Harris by Shannon Fagan. 

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