CSH closes in on first FAA title in 23 years
Convent of the Sacred Heart used a 10-point run midway in the second half on their way to a 43-35 home win in an FAA game on Thursday afternoon. Heading into today's game, Sacred Heart had already clinched a playoff spot while King would have clinched with a win.
"We're still in good shape for the post-season despite losing but it would have been nice to have clinched it today," King coach Jack Kelly said.
Sacred Heart -- with two games remaining -- is 14-6 overall, 8-1 FAA and could be regular season champs depending on other team's finishes.
King 11-7 overall, 4-4 FAA, has one more regular season game.
The winner got big contributions from a number of players. Colleen O'Neill was her team's leading scorer with14 points, mainly with aggressive drives to the hoop.
"I thought once we got them in foul trouble we were on our way," O'Neil said.
Kayla Souza quarterbacked smartly while adding 13 points. Bridget Scatturro glued herself to King scoring threat Tatiana Brown, holding her to eight points.
"We worked hard heading into this one and it paid off," she added.
Freshman center Emily O'Sullivan took over in a second half outburst that was highlighted by six consecutive rebounds on the defensive end mixed in with two consecutive baskets that fueled the 10-point run.
"Coach called the plays near the end and I was getting good post-position. With my teammates feeding me in the low pivot we were able to pull away," said O'Sullivan.
"We had that cold shooting streak after we took the one point lead in the second half and that was that," said Brown. "We had some good looks too."
"I wasn't so pleased with our defense today; we looked a little tired and may have been after 20 games," coach Sean Green said, "but we mixed our defenses well. After 20 games we may be a bit tired."
Sacred Heart threatened to run away from King on a number of occasions but every time they did, King responded. They tied the game twice in the second half, but after a 3-pointer by Chelsea Byrd put King up 33-31, Souza nailed a 3-pointer to put Sacred Heart ahead 34-31. It also put them ahead for good. O'Sullivan's two scores gave them a 38-33 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Souza connected for the third time behind the arc as Sacred Heart won by eight.
Green, in his second year as head coach has turned his team around from a just over .500 squad last season to one that is a viable candidate for a championship. The former Iona star who played in the NBA (Indiana and Utah), Europe and the Middle East (Italy, Israel and Turkey) is in position to lead his team to their first FAA title in 23 years.