December 15th, 2010

Peabody Goes For 18 In Sacred Heart Win

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Peabody Goes For 18 In Sacred Heart Win
photo by Brooke Ballard

Valkyries defeat depleted Ballard team 57-45

Sacred Heart Academy may have had four games under its belt when it traveled to Ballard High School on Wednesday night, but Valkyries Head Coach Donna Moir and her SHA team circled the Bruins game as soon as the season schedule was set several months ago.

"Ballard's always been a tough game for us," said Moir. "Obviously we're district rivals and this was the first game we marked on our schedule because we knew it was for the district (No. 1) seed and all that, and we knew they would come out ready to play us."

But while Ballard may have been "ready to play" against their Region 7, District 27 foe Sacred Heart in their home gym, they were doing so with a depleted lineup. Following its loss to Mercy last week, Bruins Head Coach Steve Kaufman had to suspend all five of his seniors for an off-court issue, leaving a less experienced squad to deal with a veteran-saavy SHA team.

And it showed.

Led quickly out of the gate by senior Maddie Peabody (who eventually finished with 18 points), the Valkyries doubled up the Bruins on several occasions in the middle of the contest and held on down the stretch to win 57-45.

Peabody, who was 6-of-9 from the field on the night, including 4-of-7 from the three-point line, sparked a 7-2 run for SHA to start the game and was creating wide open shots for herself by moving frantically away from the ball. Her teammates followed her lead and proceeded to shoot a scorching 65.2 percent from the field in the first half, allowing Sacred Heart to build a 39-20 halftime lead.

The Valkyries (5-0) cooled off slightly in the third quarter, as Ballard's Javonna Layfield and Daryius Franklin combined for 10 of the Bruin's 12 third-quarter points and cut the SHA deficit to a 16-point lead heading into the final period.

Sacred Heart senior Monica McGreal scored five of her nine total points in the final quarter, while fellow senior Annamarie Campbell got a back-breaking bucket - two of her ten points - to keep the game out of reach. Valkyrie senior center Morgan Clemons also had ten points, which included six converted free throws. Her ten rebounds gave her another double-double on the season.

Layfield led Ballard (1-3) with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort. Despite fouling out with just under three minutes remaining in the game, Peabody was the game's leading scorer.

As a team, SHA finished the game 21-of-47 (44.7 percent) from the field, but did miss 10 of its 20 free throw attempts.

"We came out the first half and opened up a big lead, and then I just thought we had some mental breakdowns," said Moir. "We put Ballard on the free throw line way too many times. I think they shot 14 free throws in the fourth quarter when we just got lazy. But I was real proud of our effort in the first half getting that lead. We just need to put teams away and we just haven't done that. We've got to get better at the free throw line and we've got to finish. That's huge for us."

They may not have finished as efficiently as they will need to later in the season, but the SHA win was the team's fifth straight to start the year, keeping Moir and Co. undefeated heading into this weekend's Republic Bank Classic at Lexington Catholic High School. The Valkyries are scheduled to play Knott County Central at noon on Saturday afternoon in its first game of the Classic.


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