NVL COMMENTARY: Sacred Heart balance overcomes Kendall’s big night for Crosby in semis

Sacred Heart senior Legend Johnson scores the last two of his team-high 25 points in the NVL semifinal win over Crosby on Monday night.

Crosby’s Jeremiah Kendall showed those in attendance, including myself, Monday night at the Reggie O’Brien Gymnasium why he was selected as the NVL’s Top Senior.
Top-seeded Sacred Heart showed why it is still the team to beat.
Kendall blew up for 42 points, the highest point total so far in this year’s tournament, but the Hearts saw four players reach double figures and took a 86-77 win in the second NVL semifinal of the night at Wilby High School.
While Kendall was single-handedly trying to push Crosby into the final, Sacred Heart was getting big contributions from Legend Johnson, Raheem Solomon, Isaiah Gaiter and Courie Stevenson, the four scorers in double figures with 25, 19, 16 and 14 points. Also huge for the Hearts was 5-foot-8 junior Michael West, who poured in key points to help keep the Bulldogs at bay.
West was the key to a big third quarter run, scoring all eight of his points. He knocked down two corner 3-pointers, plus a layup.
Johnson was huge on both ends of the floor. He not only led Sacred Heart in scoring, but he also played defense on Crosby senior sharpshooter Miguel Rivera. Rivera scored just six points on two 3-pointers and he spent much of his night in frustration.
The Hearts roared out to a 9-2 lead after the Bulldogs got the first basket. In the second and third quarters, Kendall brought Crosby back nearly all by himself. There was a giant baseline dunk by senior Nosa Igbinewuare that got the crowd fired up, and then there was Kendall. Kendall shot the ball, and he battled and battled under the basket of the rebounds.
Crosby began the fourth quarter down 61-58 with the ball, but a turnover via offensive foul gave the ball back to Sacred Heart. The three-point deficit was as close as the Bulldogs would get to the Hearts.
Sacred Heart is back in its familiar spot, one of two teams to play in the NVL Tournament championship game. The Hearts play second-seeded Holy Cross at 7 p.m. at Wilby.