Sacred Heart defeated Ragland 75-52 at home to win the Class 1A, Area 12 tournament championship. The Cardinals also won the regular season area championship after their last title came in 2012.
“To get a championship is good for our team and very good for our school and our fans,” Sacred Heart coach Ralpheal Graves said. “I’m just proud that everyone gets to experience it. We just need to take this and grown on it and continue to go throughout the playoffs.”
The 23-point victory over the Purple Devils marks Sacred Heart’s third win this season over Ragland, which went to the Class 1A state tournament a year ago. Monday night also marked Sacred Heart’s largest margin of victory against Ragland this season, the other two outcomes being decided by three and 14 points.
While Sacred Heart is undeniably playing well, Graves said the Cardinals are not even close to peaking as they head into this week’s sub-regional game.
“We haven’t scratched the potential that we can get to,” he said. “Right now we’re playing pretty solid basketball, but we’re better than how we’re playing right now. We just have to keep working and trying to improve.”
Sacred Heart (22-6) will face the loser of Skyline and Woodville at home on Friday. The Cardinals fell to Skyline on the road last year in the sub-regional round.
“It’s good to have the game at home this year,” Graves said. “With Skyline, you’re looking at a two-and-a-half-hour drive. Woodville is a two-hour drive. I’m just happy we’re playing here.”
Sacred Heart used long runs in the first and third quarters Monday to separate the game to a point where Ragland was unable to make a comeback.
The Cardinals opened the game on a 16-0 run before the Purple Devils (14-8) cut the score to 34-24 at halftime. Sacred Heart opened up the second half on a 9-0 run and quickly scored 12 consecutive points afterward, outscoring the opposition by 12 points in the quarter.
Ragland was led by KiJana Lindsey and Jacob Brewster, who scored 12 points each. Sacred Heart’s Diante Wood and Williams scored 19 points each. Kevion Nolan added 16, and D.J. Heath scored 13.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star