January 7th, 2020

Hot Shooting Night Fuels No. 1 Sacred Heart Over Manual

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 

Hot Shooting Night Fuels No. 1 Sacred Heart Over Manual
SHA defeats Manual 86-56/ photo by Jeff Woods

When you hit 15 three-pointers on only 18 attempts, chances are you’re going to win the game. Sacred Heart did nothing to dissuade that theory Tuesday night against Manual.


The Valkyries shot 83 percent from the behind the arc in an 86-56 victory over the Crimsons, improving to 10-1 on the season.


“Kristen Clemons and I were talking about it before the end of the game,” said senior Erin Toller. “We don’t know when we ever shot that many threes and made 15 of them. Today was the first day that we know of, and we’ll only get better from there.”


Toller was a perfect four-for-four from deep and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Freshman Triniti Ralston led the Valkyries with 22 points, 18 from three-point land.


“Every shot she took, I think everyone just turned around and went the other way to get back on defense,” said Toller. “It was just great shooting.”


Ralston’s performance on Tuesday was impressive on its own. She’s also started all eleven games this season. Not bad for a freshman on a deep, veteran team that lost just one senior from last year’s squad.


“She’s probably the best on the ball defender I’ve ever coached,” said Sacred Heart head coach Donna Moir. “Her quickness…she can stop on a dime. She scored offensively tonight, but it’s really her defense that energizes our team. She loves to play it and gets assigned the toughest player night in and night out, her or Destinee (Marshall).


“Our depth is outstanding. It’s been a lot of everybody accepting their new roles. Practice is competitive. They know they have to work and can’t relax, or someone is going to take their spot, which makes it fun.”


Sacred Heart sprinted out to an early 17-4 lead and never let up. Manual managed a 12-2 run early in the second quarter, but it only trimmed the Crimsons’ deficit to 13. By halftime, the Valkyries stretched their advantage to 19 and led 46-27.


Toller’s return is a big reason why Sacred Heart is ranked No. 1 and considered a favorite to win a state title. The University of Kentucky commit leads the team in scoring with more than 15 points per game. She missed all of last year as she recovered from torn ACLs in both her knees.


“It feels great. I wish we had a game the next day,” said Toller. “It just feels really great to be out here with my teammates having fun. This is my favorite part of the week, and the day when I get to come practice and play with them.”


“She just brings so much to our team because she draws so much attention that frees things up for other people,” said Moir. “I think her leadership has been great. To sit over here and watch all these games, she’s a student of the game. What I liked about Erin tonight is that she played under control, and she was smiling and looked like she was having a good time and not forcing things.”


Sophomore Kennedy Lee led Manual with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Sydne Tolbert also finished in double figures with ten points.


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