No one on the current Sacred Heart boys basketball roster has had the opportunity to play in the postseason.
Not only will that change this season, but the Hearts have a chance to go pretty deep into both the Naugatuck Valley League and Class S state tournaments.
“We remember how we felt the past couple of years,” Sacred Heart coach Jon Carroll said.
Sacred Heart boasts a 14-2 record and the No. 6 spot in the latest New Haven Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 poll. The Hearts are coming of their best week of the season.
They had a double-digit lead against Crosby and withstood 40 points from Bulldogs’ star senior, Tyshon Rogers, to win 90-82 in overtime at a sold-out Palace last Tuesday. Then the Hearts beat Kennedy at home on Friday 66-58.
“The real test would be after they (Crosby) made their push, how would we respond. We responded well,” Carroll said. “In overtime, we forced two quick turnovers which resulted in two quick baskets. No one talks about Kennedy like they do about Crosby or us, but they are a quality team and our guys pulled through.”
The Hearts will try to unseat defending champion Crosby in the NVL before the Class S tournament begins in March.
Forward Malik Petteway and guard Isaiah Rascoe are both three-year starters. Sophomores Tyrn Flowers and Charles Fisher have been important contributors thus far, too.
But Sacred Heart would not be tied with Crosby atop the NVL Copper Division standings without Mustapha Herron. A sophomore guard, the 6-foot-4 Herron transferred to the school from Wilbraham & Monson just days before the season started.
Carroll, also the school’s athletic director, said Heron’s dad Brian coaches the summer league team that includes a number of the Sacred Heart players.
“When things did not work out at the prep school, Brian called our admissions office (in early December) and things fell into place,” Carroll said. “The transition actually has been smoother than I would have anticipated because of the skill set he has. We basically ask him to do a little bit of everything. He’s got great size, good quickness, sees the floor well. He wants to learn and wants to get better. The runway is unlimited for him.”
Herron has already made a verbal commitment to play at Pittsburgh. He is averaging 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Below is a look at Herron from Sacred Heart’s first game against Crosby.