It was back a back and forth tense championship game Saturday night in Rupp Arena. Sacred Heart had just enough down the stretch pulling out a 49-47 win over Marshall County in the Mingua Beef Jerky State Championship, Saturday night at Rupp Arena.
Clutch plays by Triniti Ralston, Alex Wolff and Josie Gilvin in the final minute proved the difference as the Valkyries (25-7) won their fifth title joining Ashland, Butler and Laurel County with the most in state history. Coaching her fourth championship and fifth overall, Moir remained unbeaten in title games.
“I can’t be more proud of my team. We feed off Triniti and Josie and what a tournament they had,” said Moir who has 701 coaching victories.
Ralston hit maybe the biggest free throws of her career knocking down three after being fouled on a long jumper with 2:33 to play. The next time down the floor Gilvin had a huge blocked shot. “Triniti getting fouled was huge,” said Moir.
With 52 seconds remaining an Alex Wolff rebound basket gave SHA a two point lead. Wolff a junior came up with a big blocked shot a few plays later of a Cayson Conner shot with 1.3 remaining.
Gilvin was fouled and missed the bonus free throw giving the Lady Marshalls a final chance. A pass by Presley Jezik intended for Halle Langhi was knocked away with 0.2 left. The Lady Marshall’s couldn’t get a shot and the game ended.
“We talked about defense winning championships,” said Moir. “We talked about defense during timeouts, getting stops. Stops and rounds. Stops and rebounds. That’s pretty tough to hold a team like that shoots the ball that well.”
Marshall County in a semifinal victory over Henderson County shot 73 percent from the field. Against the Valkyries, Marshall County shot 47.4 percent but was 10 of 17 for 58.8 from the foul line.
The difference was the Lady Marshall’s 16 turnovers which amounted to 17 SHA points. Another difference was 10 blocked shots. The SHA bunch contributed 10 points. Wolff had eight points, four rebounds and two blocks. Wolff was also named to the All- Tournament team.
Gilvin, a junior, scored four points had eight rebounds, five blocks and five steals. She was named The Tournaments Most Valuable Player. Ralston was five of 17 from the field but four of eight on threes. She had four assist, four rebounds a block and a steal.
“Hats off to these girls. They played fabulous,” said Moir. “Triniti’s a winner. She has become a really awesome point guard.”
Junior Olivia Kaufman came off the bench to score five points while Angelina Pelayo had four points and as many rebounds.
“Our tee shirts say ‘believe’. They trusted me. Our coaches. Each other. We were a team through and through. They were all cheering for each other. It’s really special to come together the way they did.”
As for Ralston who was also on the All-Tournament team said she put her team first and didn’t worry about other things.
“Just focus on my team playing together moving the ball,” said Ralston. “Making sure our sets are correct and we are running them correctly.”
Langi led Marshall County, in it’s 23rd state appearance, with 19 points and seven rebounds. Conner added 16 points and six assist.
“It’s tough,” said Marshall County Aaron Beth whose father coached the Marshall to title in 1982 and 1984. “Triniti we fouled her on the three. Give credit to her. Good players step and do good things. Congratulations to her on playing a great game.”
Beth refused to use fatigue as a factor. “You play in these with emotion. We played three games in 24 hours. We only go one deep. So it definitely had an affect. But it did on them too.”
Moir and this team can relax and wait for next year when they will be favored to win back to back titles.
“You never know when you’ll get back (here),” said Moir. “This team had to work for it. Everyday we sung the national anthem before practice. Looking at the flag in our gym I’d sometimes wonder if we’d get back.”
No more concerns about getting back to the state tournament or winning a title.