Valkyries head to Region Finals; Mercy falls in region Semifinals

Sacred Heart known for its run and gun offense. Friday,

it used a stingy zone defense that clogged the middle in beating Manual 50-37,  in the Seventh Region semifinals, Friday at Valley.

The Valkyries (20-7) will play Central (14-0) in the championship, Sunday at 4 p.m. The Lady Yellowjackets beat Male, 65-58, in the earlier game.

SHA and Central didn’t play during the regular season but did meet in last years regional tournament. 

The Valkyries, a three time state champion, is one game away from back to back appearances at Rupp Arena.

“Our defense, it was really amazing,” said Sacred Heart coach Donna Moir. The Valkyries usually play a man to man went zone and that slowed Manual. 

“Alex Wolff controlled the middle of our zone,” said Moir. “She was really dialed in.”

SHA led most of the game holding the Crimsons to 29.2 percent shooting (14 of 48) from the field which included two of 17 from three point range. Manual trailed 19-13 at halftime as the Crimsons could make only five of 21 shots and no three point baskets in five attempts.

“I think our length bothered them and we wanted to limit Kennedy (Lee’s) touches,” said Moir. 

Triniti Ralston led SHA with 15 points, Alex Wolff added 14 points and eight rebounds. Josie Gilvin had eight points and 13 rebounds. The Valkyries had 20 points in the paint and out rebounded Manual 38-23.

“We did a good job of slowing it down and being patient,” said Moir. “We didn’t press. We just wanted to get back and play good transition defense.”

Guard Jakayla Thomson led Manual with 15 points and three rebounds. Lee added nine points and eight rebounds. Sydney Tolbert had eight points but was three of 18 from the field.

Moir said she had little time to watch Central’s win over Male. “I didn’t even know what time we played Sunday. I was focused on not looking ahead.”

It will be a late night for Moir as she prepares for Central. “We’ll get together and do our home work over night. We’ll practice and be ready.”

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The Lady Yellowjackets beat Male (9-3). Central led 33-24 at halftime and didn’t trail after. Amaya Asher led Central with 22 points and six assist. Taylor Price added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Central made 14 of 29 shots from the field for 48.3 percent in the first half. Male out rebounded Central 40-37 but shot just 35.2 percent (16 of 48) for the game and made 17 of 34 free throws.

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Mercy Academy’s season ended in a 70-48 loss to Butler in a game at Manual. The teams played just eight days ago as Mercy kept things close losing by eight. But it was different Friday.

Butler (13-2) jumped to a 10-2 lead and led by as many as 13 points in the first half. Dynastee White scored 10 of 17 points early. Senior guard Tiara East led the Bearettes with 24 points. 

Mary Smith led Mercy (13-14) with 14 points while Ramiyah White had 10.

“It’s our youth,” Mercy coach George Washington told the gathered media. “We play primarily freshman and sophomores. You’re going to take bumps and bruises early with out experience, but I can tell you right now that this is a team to be reckoned with in the future.”

The Butler victory sets up another rematch with eighth ranked Bulllitt East (21-2) which rolled past Pleasure Ridge Park 54-20. The Chargers held PRP (11-7) scoreless in the second quarter.

Bullitt East beat Butler in the Louisville Invitational Tournament finals and in last years Sixth Region title game. 

The Chargers and Bearettes play at Valley, Sunday 2 p.m.

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