|Sat, Mar 25, 2017 10:55 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
by Alton huff
|Sacred Heart wins second stright Sweet 16 crown|
BOWLING GREEN — Despite owning a double-digit, third-quarter advantage, Sacred Heart needed a pair of late free throws to claim its second straight Sweet 16 girls title.
After seeing Lexington Catholic rally down the stretch, sophomore Carly Ormerod sank two free throws with eight seconds left in the game to break a tie score and eventually give the Lady Valkyries a 42-40 victory in Saturday's championship contest.
Sacred Heart, ranked No. 1 from pre-season through the state tournament, built a 14-point lead in the third period only to see the Lady Knights answer with a 17-3 run.
With the game tied at 40 and Lexington Catholic holding for a final shot, Ormerod came up with a steal and drew the two-shot foul on her way to the basket.
After Ormerod, who finished with 13 points, canned both free throws, Sacred Heart stole the inbounds pass to secure the win.
The Lady Valkyries, finishing the season at 37-1, was topped offensively by Crystal Kelly, who hit for 14 points while hauling down 10 rebounds. She was named tournament MVP.
Sacred Heart became the first team to repeat as state champions since Laurel County won three consecutive titles in the late 1970s.
The Lady Valkyries' lone loss of the season came on Jan. 3 when they fell 58-48 to Clearwater, Fla., in The Naples Daily News Holiday Shootout. They have now won 62 straight games against in-state competition.
Sacred Heart, already considered a state title favorite for next season, defeated Christian County 75-61 to reach the finals.
Lexington Catholic, led by Chelsea Chowing's 13 points, finished at 32-5.
The Lady Knights, who beat Clinton County 58-36 in the semi-final round, had won 28 straight before falling in Saturday night's championship game.