photo from Sacred Heart Basketball Twitter
Those blue and white uniforms blazing up and down the Rupp Arena court Wednesday looked like a blur. Sacred Heart made Knott County Central look like they were stuck in quicksand.
The Valkyries made sure early they were at the top of their game, a 64-32 win over the 14th Region champion Lady Patriots, in the opening game of the 2021 Minga Beef Jerky State Tournament.
SHA, a four time state champion, three under coach Donna Moir, the other when she was a player, trailed 8-6 in the first quarter. Then the flood gates opened.
The Valkyries went on a 9-0 spurt and eventually led 19-12 after one quarter. Leading 25-16 SHA scored the final 16 points blowing out to a 41-16 lead halftime lead.
“We hit a couple threes and Josie Gilvin’s pressure caused a lot of havoc with our press,” said Moir. “We were able to run a little transition. So I was happy with our start.”
Sacred Heart used its quickness forcing 16 turnovers and those mistakes turned into 22 points. Excellent shooting from the field 62 percent was aided by running for layups or booming three point shots.
In the end the Valkyries forced 30 turnovers. “When we got them to turn the ball over and Josie got a triple double, steals and points. That is really a feat,” said Moir.
Gilvin finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals and five assist. Freshman Reagan Bender led the Valkyries with 21 points had three rebounds, five assist and three steals.
As a team SHA forced 17 turnovers and scored 30 points off those. It’s first half field goal shooting cooled off. But SHA finished for 45 percent (26 of 58).
“Being active for my team makes us get going,” said Gilvin. “I hope everyone puts in the same effort and I try to bring it for everyone.”
Gilvin has size and length. Her presence in the press caused problems. “She causes so much disruption on offense and defense. She might be guarding you and it kind of distracts you. Her and Triniti (Ralston) are kind of like our energy people that make us go,” said Moir.
Ralston got in some early foul trouble and Gilvin moved to point guard. “They just play so hard it makes the other kids play hard right behind them,” said Moir.
Gilvin made a three, stole the ball for a layup and scored on a jump shot to end the first half.
“We like to play in transition, so playing fast really helps us,” said Gilvin.
Knott County coach Jeff Honeycutt was obviously impressed with Sacred Heart. “We played a great team,” said Honeycutt. “Their length hurt us. We just didn’t get a lot done. When you play a good team they take advantage.
“It seemed like there in the second quarter they got their hand on a lot of balls,” said Honeycutt. “Once they got it. It was straight line layups. It (defense) affected some of our shooting around the basket. We rushed shots. We do not see length like that in the 14th Region,” said Honeycutt.
The Lady Patriots shot 29 percent and committed 26 turnovers.
“We need to get out in the state and play some different teams,” said Honeycutt “and see what is going on. If were lucky enough to get back here it won’t be a big shock for us.”
Senior Kera Mullins led Knott County Cental (20-8) with nine points.
“It was really good to get our feet wet in Rupp and we played a lot of people and it was great to get them on the floor,” said Moir whose team lost a heart breaker to South Laurel 57-56 last seasons tourney.
Sacred Heart will play Bowling Green, Friday at 11 a.m., in a quarterfinal game.
The team had lunch and watched some of the second game and then will have dinner at Malone’s, Wednesday evening. They will stay over night and practice Thursday before playing Friday.
Moir is two wins shy of 700 with 698. She’s already in the Kentucky Hall of Fame.