Tuesday, December 09, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> NP beats Sacred Heart

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski girls’ basketball team picked up its third win of the season on Saturday, beating Sacred Heart Academy of Morrilton 56-45 in the first round of the Conway Christian Invitational Tournament. The first quarter made the difference, as North Pulaski jumped out to an 18-9 lead with some hot outside shooting.

Sophomore guard Allison Seats hit a pair of 3-pointers and Zariah Holloway added another. The Lady Rebels stemmed the tide in the second quarter, but couldn’t get any closer than seven points, and that’s how it went into halftime. North Pulaski led 28-21 at the break and the two teams battled to a 15-15 tie in the third quarter.

Still trailing by several possessions, Sacred Heart was forced to extend its tightly-packed zone defense in the fourth quarter, and that opened things up inside for post player Raigen Thomas.

“They came out on us but they never did really try to foul us and extend the game,” NP coach Stacy Dalmut said of Sacred Heart. “I was a little surprised by that.”

Point guard Ilycia Carter did a good job of slowing down the Lady Falcons’ offense in the fourth quarter, and the whole team showed more patience down the stretch than it has most of the season.

“I was really proud to see Ilycia pull the ball out and recognize that you don’t have to take the first shot you see when you’ve got a lead,” Dalmut said. “Impatience has been a problem for us this year. It’s been one pass and throw something up a lot of the time. We did it a lot early in this game, but down the stretch we really did a good job there of moving the ball and getting the defense out of position. We got some wide open layups and that’s what you want with the lead.”

Seats led all scorers with 27 points while Thomas added 12 for North Pulaski. Taylor Ussery and Lindsey Bean led Sacred Heart with 12 and 10 points respectively.

North Pulaski, 3-4, plays Hector in the second round at 8:15 p.m. today. A win over Hector means a Thursday date with Joe T. Robinson at 4:45 in the semifinals. A loss to Hector means 10 a.m. game Saturday against J.A. Fair.