Sacred Heart boys display unselfishness, up-tempo style in win over Crosby

Raheem Solomon ended up being OK after this nasty spill near the end of the first half of Wednesday night’s game against Crosby.

At the beginning of Wednesday night’s Sacred Heart-Crosby game, the Hearts had to withstand a body blow from the host Bulldogs inside The Palace.
Near the end of the first half, Sacred Heart felt its hearts race when Raheem Solomon took a nasty spill on a dunk attempt.
The Hearts survived the early punch from the Bulldogs, and Solomon was able to continue playing. An unselfish attitude and increased pace sent Sacred Heart to an 83-69 win over Crosby.

Omar Rowe (13) led Sacred Heart with 22 points.

Omar Rowe led the balanced offensive attack of the Hearts with 22 points. Isaiah Gaiter played a great all-around floor game and scored 21 points. Mikey West connected for 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Solomon rounded out the double figure scorers for Sacred Heart with 11 points.
“We got unselfish guys, and sometimes it’s too unselfish,” Hearts head coach Jon Carroll said.
For instance, Carroll would have liked to see West shoot more, given he had such a hot hand. West knocked down three 3-pointers in the second quarter to help Sacred Heart build a double-digit advantage.
It wasn’t all good for the Hearts. The Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the game, forcing a timeout from Carroll at the 5:56 mark of the opening quarter.
“We came out flat,” Carroll said. “We didn’t react well to their zone.”
Crosby being in a zone is an interesting concept to me, who was used to seeing the Bulldogs press and run up and down the floor with past teams. One thing you don’t want to do, however, is run too much with the Hearts.

Sacred Heart fought back to an 18-14 lead after one quarter, then West’s three-point

The three-point shooting of Mikey West (0) sparked the Hearts.

shooting (11 points total) in the second quarter extended the advantage to 38-28 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Hearts took advantage of turnovers and took off running. Rowe had 14 points in the period as the visitors built their lead to 66-51.
When Crosby had to turn up the pressure to try to get back into the game, Sacred Heart hit an even higher gear.
“I think that actually helped us,” Carroll said of the trapping defense. “It’s how we practice. We want to be full-court, we want to be up-tempo.”
Without big rebounders in the middle like Mustapha Heron, Tyrn Flowers and J.T. Riddick, the Hearts have to hit the glass together.
“It’s got to be team rebounding,” Carroll said. “Rebounding is a team responsibility.”
So is defense, and that’s something Carroll wants his 7-0 team to improve.
“Seven games in, defensively we can improve a lot, but I like the progress,” Carroll said.
When Sacred Heart figures out its defense, they’ll be that much tougher. Not a pleasant thought for the rest of the NVL, and the rest of the state. The Hearts have lost talented freshman Nate Tabor, who is no longer with the school according to news reports. Carroll told Joe Palladino of the Waterbury Republican-American after the game that he can only coach the players that he has. Don’t believe that anyone will feel bad for the Hearts.
The next two games will be a big challenge for Sacred Heart. On Friday, the Hearts head to Queens for a game against Benjamin N. Cardozo High School (9-3), a Public School Athletic League power. Head coach Ronald Naclerio is the winningest coach in New York state history.
On Saturday, Sacred Heart hosts South Shore from Brooklyn, another PSAL school, at 3 p.m. at Alumni Hall. South Shore is 6-4 on the season, but two of the losses are to Abraham Lincoln High School of Brooklyn. One of the other losses is to the powerful Boys and Girls High School from Brooklyn.
“We’re a young team in comparison to where we were last year,” Carroll said, adding the team is still trying to gel.
Sacred Heart will know where it stands after this weekend.