COMMENTARY: Sacred Heart boys use team effort to complete four-peat

From left to right, Sacred Heart’s Isaiah Gaiter, Courie Stevenson and Mikey West cheer on
their teammates near the end of the Class L final on Sunday. The Hearts won their fourth straight state title.
It was another Sacred Heart boys basketball celebration on Sunday
evening at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Four seasons, four straight state championships.
Amazing. Awesome. Incredible.
However you put it, Sacred Heart was all of those words and more
in capturing its fourth straight state championship. The top-seeded Hearts took
down second-seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield 75-53 and finished another perfect
season at 28-0.
This is the same team that lost Raheem Solomon before the Class L
state tournament ever began. This is the same team many doubted.
The Hearts lost Solomon, but they were still a TEAM. Now everyone
in the state must recognize this team for what it is – state champions. And
everyone must recognize what this program has done – win four straight state
Senior Legend Johnson calls out the play as West and Rowe look on.
Legend Johnson and Courie Stevenson leave as four-time state
champions. It was an amazing run, one that will go down in the archives of high
school basketball in this state.
There were newcomers like Isaiah Gaiter and Omar Rowe. Both were
needed as the Hearts program lost Mustapha Heron, Tyrn Flowers, Charles Fisher
and JT Riddick to graduation.
In the state championship game on Sunday, Sacred Heart showed what
a great TEAM it was.
Gaiter had 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. He was one of
four Hearts in double figures.
Rowe was a big presence inside early and often, finishing with 18
points and nine rebounds. Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds in his last
game while Stevenson added 10 points and four steals.

Mikey West had only three points, but he was the floor general,
bringing the ball up the floor. 
Stevenson and Gaiter — a terrific 1-2 punch on the fast break.
The Hearts put on an absolute fast break clinic at times, the ball moving quickly from one player to the other.
What made this Sacred Heart team so tough to deal with was its versatility. There were a plethora of players who can bring the ball up. When need be, Gaiter, Stevenson, Johnson and West can all be their own one-man fast break. Each can pull down a rebound and start the break by themselves.
The unselfishness of this team made it a joy to watch. When Sacred Heart moved the ball with precision, it was nearly impossible to stop. The Hearts could play fast and slow, which helps in the state tournament. Players like Rowe did the dirty work, grabbing rebounds and taking charges. Gaiter wasn’t afraid to get his nose dirty and scrap inside. Johnson and Stevenson drove the ball hard to the basket, as did Gaiter. West came up with clutch outside shooting when left open.
Above all, this team was a team. And that team earned its four-peat.