Great run ends for Sacred Heart girls, but bright future awaits

Sacred Heart’s Jenna Madigan (4) and Victoria Santiago (42) swarm around Thomaston’s Alexa Sanson on a rebound.

“All good things must come to an end.”
That often-used phrase described what happened to the Sacred Heart girls basketball team on Friday night in the Class S state semifinals.
The young Hearts were overwhelemed by a veteran, battle-tested Thomaston squad 61-28 at Wilby High School’s Reggie O’Brien Gymnasium on Friday night.
Sacred Heart saw its season end with a record of 16-9. The Hearts, the No. 16 seed in Class S, left No. 17 Putnam, No. 1 East Hampton and No. 24 Kolbe Cathedral in their wake on the way to the semifinals. 
The No. 5 Golden Bears proved to be too much. Thomaston, with its powerful senior duo of Casey Carangelo and Julia Quinn, is headed back to the state final for a fifth straight season.

Sacred Heart head coach Ron Picard shouts instructions to his team.

“They’ve been in this year in and year out,” Sacred Heart head coach Ron Picard said of Thomaston. “The first period showed our inexperience in a game like this.”
In what was the biggest crowd the Hearts played in front of all season, their youth showed as the Bears quickly roared ahead and never looked back.
Sacred Heart started freshman point guard Aamya Rivera, sophomore wings Treasure Coleman and Hayley Tucker, and junior forwards Jenna Madigan and Victoria Santiago. Santiago is the only player not coming back. She transferred to Sacred Heart after playing for three years at the Watkinson School and had only one year of eligibility with the Hearts.
“We’ll be back,” Picard said. “We’ll be back next year.”
It’s understandable to see why Picard is so optimistic. Rivera and Coleman are lightning quick and put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses. When left open behind the three-point line, Rivera can be deadly. Coleman is shifty, she can shoot and get to the basket.
Tucker put together some big efforts and played valuable minutes as a sophomore. Madigan had some huge rebounding games this season.
Also slated to return next year, according to the CIAC tournament roster, are (current grade in parentheses): Ava Mullin (9), Adalena Francis (10), Lauren Kiluk (10), Vanessa Kulla (9), Katie Brown (9), Nevaeh Jones (9), Stephanie Van Duzer (10), Trista Caron (9) and Karli Imperato (10). 
Add in possible newcomers to that roster, and Sacred Heart will be good again. As a matter of fact, Picard thinks the Hearts will be better than good in 2017-18.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be a lot better next year,” Picard said.
After a stirring run to a state semifinal, there’s a reason for the Hearts and their supporters to be optimistic about next season.