Defense, patient offensive attack lead to win for Sacred Heart girls

The Hearts used a swarming defense to dispatch the Wildcats.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

“Defense wins championships.”
It’s one of the most liberally used phrases in sports. The Class S state title game isn’t until the weekend of March 17-18, but the NVL champion and No. 6 seed Sacred Heart girls used defense and a patient offensive attack to grind out a 38-20 second round win over No. 11 Old Lyme at Alumni Hall on Saturday.
The game was definitely ugly at times between the turnovers and missed shots, but sometimes a team needs to win ugly to move on in the state tournament. A team wins ugly by playing good defense and getting easier shots on offense.
Sacred Heart did both against Old Lyme. The Hearts were able to turn the Wildcats over, and that led to some transition opportunities. Treasure Coleman, Aamya Rivera and Mikayla Mobley are all fast and have quick hands, and Coleman got away with grand larceny on Saturday. 
In the halfcourt offense, Sacred Heart looked for chances to attack, then did.
“They were patient throughout the whole game,” head coach Ron Picard said of his team’s offense.
The drives of Rivera (13 points), Coleman (12) and Mobley (9) had another good effect for the home team.
“(Old Lyme’s Jordan Lewis and Madeline Zrenda) were their best players, and we got them in foul trouble because we attack,” Picard said.
Lewis and Zrenda fouled out in the fourth quarter, which was where Sacred Heart outscored Old Lyme 17-6 to pull away.
In a weird twist, the Hearts have to wait until sometime Monday night to find out who they will play in the quarterfinal. No. 3 Putnam and No. 14 Lyman Memorial don’t play until Monday at 5 p.m. in Putnam. Sacred Heart will be in its second straight quarterfinal.
The Hearts will work to get more shots to fall, more rebounds on the defensive end, and less turnovers on the offensive end. If Sacred Heart can do those things, the Hearts will give themselves a chance to get to a second straight Class S semifinal.

GALLERY: Click here to see the photos I took at Saturday night’s game.

STORY: Here’s what I wrote for The Hoop Zone.