February 9th, 2011

Valkyries Handle Toppers For 68-35 Victory

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Valkyries Handle Toppers For 68-35 Victory
photo by Chris Jung

SHA outscores Pres 36-12 in first half en route to win

Presentation Academy scrapped and battled on Wednesday night against Sacred Heat Academy, but the Toppers were simply overmatched by the Valkyries during a 68-35 SHA victory.

In a battle of sharp-shooting point guards, SHA senior Maddie Peabody and Pres junior Bailey Reeder both dropped a game-high 17 points, but it was the supporting cast of Sacred Heart that made the difference. Peabody was joined in double digits by senior Morgan Clemons (15) and junior Jade Tubb (12), and helped spark a 20-8 second quarter run that put SHA in command for good.

Sacred Heart was also dominant in the rebounding department, as the Valkyries grabbed 45 boards to the Toppers' 26. Clemons, senior Hannah Washle and senior Monica McGreal combined for 19 of their team's total.

"We controlled the backboards which was important and I got to play a lot of people tonight too, so that will keep (the team) hungry for practice," said SHA Head Coach Donna Moir.

After an old-fashioned three-point play by Presentation's Shelby Adams made the score 4-3 just two minutes into the game, SHA began to take control by looking to pass the ball inside. And after Clemons scored five straight points for the Valkyries, a 3-pointer by Tubb and layup by McGreal, Sacred Heart took a 16-4 lead after one quarter.

In the second quarter, Peabody used back-to-back steals and subsequent layups to push the Valkyrie lead to 23 points and put the game well out of reach for a Presentation team that committed 19 turnovers in the contest.

Reeder's layup with four seconds to go in the second quarter broke a nearly three-minute scoring drought for Presentation, but SHA still took a 36-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Valkyries (19-4) maintained its lead in the third quarter and freshman Raven Merriweather's running floater beat the buzzer at the end of the period, giving SHA a 54-23 lead. Sacred Heart's largest lead of the night was 34 points.

As a result of such a commanding lead, Moir had the luxury of resting her starters and giving some thorough minutes to players who normally don't get to see the floor as much.

"It was good because you get to give some of the younger kids some time to play, and I haven't gotten a chance to do that very much," said Moir. "When you're only winning games or losing game by one or two (points), you don't necessarily get a chance to see what your bench can do in game situations. And we got to work on a few things tonight that we might use in postseason play, so that was good for us."

SHA shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) from the floor as a team, while Pres could only muster 15 field goal conversions out of 53 attemps. The teams were a combined 12-of-16 from the free throw line, as there were only two personal fouls total called between both teams during the entire second half.

The highlight of the night for Presentation was Reeder. The petite guard played fearless around the basket and created a slew of difficult shots throughout the game. And while she did commit a game-high 10 turnovers, Reeder's four steals and 17 points on 8-of-21 shooting impressed Moir.

"She looked great. I thought she had a good game," said the SHA coach. "She stepped up and made some pretty good shots. We went to zone in the second half and she found some good open looks, but she was scoring in the first half getting some dribble penetration on us, which I didn't really like to see, but that's a tribute to her."

Adams also contributed seven points and five rebounds for Presentation (9-11) in the losing effort.

The victory was SHA's 8th in its past 10 game and gives the Valkyries 19 victories on the season. With just three regular season games remaining on its schedule, including a home finale against a talented Boone County squad, Moir says she is confident in her team as the postseason portion of the year looms.

"I like our chances," said Moir. "Obviously we had Sandy Gahafer go down with a (torn) ACL in the Mercy game, and that makes our bench a little thinner. And we're still waiting to get Olivia Niehoff back from her concussion against Assumption. But we're playing well and practicing really well, which I really like to see. We're kind of tapering off a little bit and making practices a little shorter to keep them hungry and try to stay healthy for the postseason."

Sacred Heart will take on Christian Academy of Louisville on Friday night at 7:30pm and hosts Boone Co. on Feb. 16. In terms of postseason play, SHA will play Waggener in the 27th District semifinals on Feb. 22 at Sacred Heart and would play the winner of Ballard-Seneca on Feb. 24 for the district title.


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