MILFORD — Sacred Heart Academy used a third quarter run to gain some separation from Law, then held on for a 45-39 girls basketball victory in the Jonathan Law Holiday Classic at the James Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium on Friday afternoon.
The Sharks, who improved to 4-0 overall, led 17-16 at the half. They ripped off a 12-0 run, ignited by a 3-pointer from Carina Ciampi, to extend their margin to 31-18 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
“The run in the third quarter was fantastic,” Sacred Heart Academy first-year head coach Jason Kirck said. “We made some shots. I thought our defense was solid. To hold a team like Law to 39 points in their own gym, it’s a really good defensive effort.”
Katie Konareski, who scored a game-high 17 markers, countered with a 3-pointer for Law on the other end to narrow the gap to 10 points.
From there, the Lawmen (2-1) chipped away at SHA’s advantage, trimming the margin to 39-32 on Konareski’s driving layup with 2:45 left to play. A 3-pointer from Liv Kowalski made it 41-35 Sharks at the 1:10 mark, before Jill Hall made the second of two free throws get Law within five points at 41-36.
Emma Kirck missed a pair of foul shots with 53.4 seconds left, but Law could not convert on the other end. Rosa Rizzitelli then knocked down a brace from the line, pushing the SHA edge to 43-36 with 26.7 seconds left.
“We’re really young,” Jason Kirck said. “We’re going to learn to do a better job closing out… Putting the girls in these positions early on in their careers, we’ve got to figure out a way to be more strategic at the end of the game.”
Law’s Madie Lula connected with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 15 seconds left, but Emma Kirck sealed the victory by sinking a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to provide the final margin.
“Credit to Sacred Heart, they executed better than us,” Law head coach Dan Young said. “We made a lot of self-inflicted errors in terms of decisions and things like that. We’ve got to correct that if we want to be a good team.”
The first half was a back-and-forth defensive struggle, with Konareski’s tough basket in the lane giving Law a 16-15 lead with 3:13 left in the second quarter. Emma Kirck’s jumper with 2:22 remaining giving the Sharks the lead they would never relinquish.
SHA’s third-quarter eruption proved to be the difference, with Elena Farquharson scoring six of her team-high 15 points in the period. The Lawmen battled the rest of the way, but the deficit was too much to overturn.
“I have no issues with our effort,” Young said. “The girls work hard, they’re great girls. They’re working at getting better. They have an expectation that they’re going to work hard together…As we jump into the SCC schedule, it only gets more difficult. You can learn a lot from a loss; and we will.”
For Sacred Heart Academy, reeling off four consecutive victories to start the season is setting a foundation for a young team to have a successful campaign.
“I’m proud of our team,” Jason Kirck said. “To win four games in a row, for our program, our big goal this year for Sacred Heart basketball is to establish a culture. To decide how we’re going to play basketball the Sacred Heart way. I think we’re doing a great job building that culture.”