Sacred Heart boys basketball making the NVL Tournament final was more like a foregone conclusion, no offense to its opponents.
Determining who would face the Hearts -- Wilby or Crosby -- was more like flipping a coin. The game is that much of a toss-up when the two teams face each other.
Top-seeded Sacred Heart reached the final with a convincing 86-56 win over No. 5 Holy Cross in the last game of the night Monday at Wilby High School. Wilby-Crosby, on the other hand, had a lot more drama.
Wilby was done for in the final seconds of regulation, until Damian Grant scored on a putback to tie the game. The Wildcats went on to beat the Bulldogs 89-83 in overtime. Dimitri Yates led Wilby with 24 points while Grant had 23. Christian Harris and Jerquan Smalls each tallied 11 points for the Wildcats.
Roary Jadusingh had 28 points while Jeremiah Kendall scored 26 points for Crosby in defeat.
Sacred Heart ran out to a 30-9 lead after one quarter and put Holy Cross away early in the nightcap. Mustapha Heron had 28 points, Tyrn Flowers scored 21, Charles Fisher and Legend Johnson each had 11 and Raheem Solomon added 8 for the winners. Nyzair Rountree tallied 18 points while Justin Strielkauskas added 14 for Holy Cross.
At 7 p.m. tomorrow at Wilby, Sacred Heart looks to complete its dominant run to the NVL title with a win over Wilby. The Wildcats plan on presenting a tougher challenge than they did during the regular season, where the HEarts posted a pair of convincing victories. It's an All-City matchup for the title, so anything can happen.
Awards: To no one's surprise, Heron was named Top Senior and Top City Player. Dillon Collins of Holy Cross was named Scholar-Athlete, Charles Fisher of Sacred Heart took Top Defender and Daniel Jones of Crosby earned the Sportsmanship Award.
Here are the local players chosen for the All-NVL teams, as announced last night in between the semifinal games:
Heron, Jordan Booker (Crosby), Grant, Flowers, Jai'Vaun McKnight (Kennedy), Kendall
Fisher, Jonathan Mowatt (Holy Cross), Yates, Strielkauskas, Darryl Flowers (Kennedy)
Michael Palmieri (St. Paul)
Shamari Thomas (Wolcott)