Wednesday, February 17, 2016

AMBUSH! Sacred Heart boys use huge first quarter to roll past Holy Cross

That's the best way to describe what happened to the Holy Cross boys basketball team when it played Sacred Heart on Tuesday night at The Pit.
The Hearts (17-2) scored the game's first eight points before the Crusaders registered their first hoop. At the 4:40 mark of the opening quarter, it was 13-2. With 54.4 remaining in the first eight minutes, it was 33-4. Sacred Heart went on to win 101-66.
What happened, exactly, in that first quarter?
"After we hit one shot, we just keep going," senior Tyrn Flowers said.
Flowers would know, given he scored 25 points in a variety of ways. The 6-foot-10 senior is an assassin in many different ways, be it on 3-pointers, drives and setting up teammates on the fast break.
Teammate Mustapha Heron, another senior, kills you in multiple ways as well.
"We just made our shots," Heron said of the difference between the first meeting and the second meeting.
Heron led all scorers with 34 points. 
When Sacred Heart played Holy Cross at Alumni Hall in January, the Hearts couldn't buy a bucket at points, unless it was from point-blank range. This night -- despite a few missed dunks -- Sacred Heart hit from all over the place.
At one point, Heron flicked the ball downcourt to a wide open Flowers. Flowers settled himself and drained the 3-pointer (VIDEO).
"I just think, this is the time of year where they got to be firing on all cylinders," Sacred Heart head coach Jon Carroll said.
No worries on that end, because the Hearts came out ablaze.
On one play, Heron showed off his non-dominant right hand for an entire drive and slam (VIDEO). It was impressive, to say the least.
Flowers goes up for another block.
Flowers continues to be ridiculous for the Hearts. His ability to alter shots on players he's not even guarding makes him such a pain for opponents on the defensive end.
Speaking of defense, another adjustment by Sacred Heart from the first Holy Cross meeting was to employ a 1-2-2 halfcourt trap.
"We came out in the 1-2-2, and it kind of kept them on their heels," Carroll said.
Holy Cross head coach Ed Generali agreed.
"That just threw us way off-kilter offensively," Generali said.
In the 1-2-2, Heron and Flowers make up the back line, but then they come out and trap with their long arms. There's also defensive stalwart Charles Fisher and Raheem Solomon to deal with. Courie Stevenson also filled in well in the starting lineup for big senior J.T. Riddick, out with a back injury. He should be back soon, by the way.
The long arms of the law at the back end of Sacred Heart's 1-2-2 trap.
Fisher also showed his offensive abilities and scored 14 points on a variety of mid-range and close-in shots. Solomon tallied 13 for the Hearts.
Holy Cross got Sacred Heart's attention when it lost 77-65 at Alumni Hall in January. That game motivated the Hearts, and they made a statement Tuesday night.
"They were going to prove a point tonight that they are obviously that good," Generali said.
Sacred Heart proved its point with a dominating performance.
"They could compete with a lot of Division III college teams, from what I've seen," Generali said.
"We're right where we want to be, but we're never complacent," Heron said.
Good luck trying to beat this Hearts team the rest of the way.

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