Donna Moir couldn’t have wished for a better time to coach her team to win 700 in her 30 coaching years. Sacred Heart beat No. 1 Anderson County 63-53, early Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena in the Mingus Beef Jerky State Tournament.
The Valkyries (24-7) advanced to play Marshall County, a 50-33 winner over Henderson County, in Saturday’s championship game. SHA entered the finals for the fifth time, four under Moir who won titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Moir was asked after the game about her career which began as a 25 year old rookie. “I didn’t know the heck I was doing,” said Moir. “I was a coach getting a varsity program like this. I’m just so proud of all the kids that have come through our program.”
Moir is the fourth coach in girls state history to reach the plateau. She has a 700-264 record. “Wow! I guess I’ve been doing it a long time,” said Moir. “To get this 700th win at Rupp Arena means a lot. ”
As usual sophomore Triniti Ralston and junior Josie Gilvin had big games. Gilvin had 19 points, 11 rebounds and five steals while Ralston added 13 points, four rebounds and three assist.
While SHA is the title game it is a young team. This year the Valkyries were picked to finish third in the preseason Seventh Region by coaches as Central and Manual were favored. The Valkyries rely on three juniors one sophomore and three freshman among its top scorers.
“There are no big egos in our locker room,” said Moir. “From Day One, we told them we have everything we need to win a state championship…Back in 2002 to 2004, I was like, ‘I have the best team in the state and country’ and was afraid to lose. Now it’s just like you can enjoy it more.”
Friday night SHA watched the video of the first game with Anderson County and they drew confidence from that. “We felt like we were the better team,” said Moir.
Anderson County opened the third quarter with a 10-2 spurt and took a 31-23 lead on a Amiya Jenkins three point play with 6:10. However SHA answered behind junior guard Olivia Kaufman, who connected on three straight three pointers to help tied the game at 38-38 with 1:17.
The Bearcats would lead 45-42 with 6:55 remaining but scored 10 straight points to a seven point lead. Ralston’s to foul shots capped the spurt with 4:12.
Moir said Ralston’s defense on Jenkins, who led Anderson County with 24 points, switched defenders on the guard allowing Ralston to guard elsewhere.
“Triniti did a great jig shutting her down and got her frustrated, and we were able to make our run. Josie was able to do what she does and make steals.”
Anderson County got within 52-48 with 3:51 but no close. The Valkyries finished making nine of 13 free throws to finish.
“We have great upperclassman and great underclassman, and we all treat each other the same,” said Gilvin. “It doesn’t matter what grade you’re in. We all play together and we’re like a family.”