It’s been a long and struggling season offensively for the Sacred Heart Lady Gremlins.
However, everything came together for the Lady Gremlins Saturday morning in the opening round of the Kaysinger Conference Tournament.
Sacred Heart scored a season-high 66 points, only the third game with 60 points or more this season, to upset third-seeded Green Ridge 66-39 at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center on the State Fair Community College campus.
On the hot shooting of guards Katelin Sunnarborg and Gabbi Ebers, Sacred Heart shot out to a 16-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Sunnarborg made all three of her treys in the first quarter on her way to a 13-point outing.
Green Ridge, 13-7 on the season, took an early 3-0 lead on a conventional three-point play by senior Clare Chamberlin, who led Green Ridge with 16 points.
Sacred Heart took its first lead 4-3 on a free throw by Sydney Smith and Sunnarborg’s first trey. At the other end, Ragin Dillon hit a three pointer to put Green Ridge back on top 6-4.
Smith, who scored five points in the first quarter, hit a baseline jumper for Sacred Heart to tie it at 6-6.
Sacred Heart built its lead to 11-6 as they made practically every shot in the opening quarter. Green Ridge’s Libby Dove made a free-throw and then drove the lane for a layup after a steal to get the Lady Tigers within 11-9.
Dove finished with 13 points.
Honor Kehde made a bucket and Sunnarborg buried her second trey and the Gremlins led 14-9 and never looked back.
Green Ridge appeared to be a very tired team from the opening tip. Sacred Heart’s tenacious press and trap led to several easy transition buckets as the game moved along.
Green Ridge lost more and more of their legs as the game went along. That played right into the speed advantage of Sacred Heart.
Dove and Chamberlin each scored to start the second quarter and got Green Ridge within 16-15. Chamberlin was fouled on her shot but missed the ensuing free throw.
Smith score four straight points and Alexus Kromroy added a bucket in a 6-2 Gremlin run to make it 22-17.
The game was starting to roll big time in Sacred Heart’s favor.
Ebers hit a bucket, Sunnarborg hit another trey, Claudia Cox went to the free throw line twice and made two of four and Sacred Heart led 29-20.
Sacred Heart ended the half on an 8-0 run as Ebers nailed her second trey and took a 37-20 lead into halftime.
Lady Gremlin Coach Shawn Bestgen was able to keep fresh legs on the floor as he kept his reserves running in and out. Green Ridge shut down Ebers and Sunnarborg in the second half, but Cox stepped up big time. Cox scored eight of her 10 points in the third quarter as the Lady Gremlins put the game on ice 53-26 after three quarters.
Most of the Gremlin points in the second half came off turnovers and free throws.
Green Ridge scored just 19 points in the second half.
Ebers led Sacred Heart, 5-12, with 14 points and two treys. Sunnarborg added 13 with three treys and Cox had 10.
Chamberlin led Green Ridge with 16 points and Dove added 13. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.