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Sacred Heart, top-ranked in Class D, outlasts Carson City, 22-15, in key conference game

By: State Champs! Network, January 9, 2016, 9:02 am

By Cullen Maksimowski

Mount Pleasant – An early season early matchup featuring undefeated teams in conference play presents coaches with an opportunity to gauge just how well rounded their respective teams are.

For Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart girls basketball coach Damon Brown, the verdict was good.

In search of its second Class D state championship in school history, the top-ranked Irish defeated Carson City-Crystal (7-1), 22-15, to move to 8-0 on the season and 3-0 in the Mid-State Activities Conference.

“A game like this builds confidence,” Brown said. “ You have to be able to win games like this in the tournament, having games like this in the schedule that we have just prepares us for the postseason and this was a good game for both teams because we both have postseason aspirations.”

Offense was scarce throughout the game as both teams played smothering defense.

“Carson City always does a great job defensively and doesn’t make very many mistakes,” said Brown. “We really had to take our time on offense and make sure we’re executing when we did get chances.

“We feel like we’re very good defensively as well, we take pride not giving up open looks and making shooters uncomfortable, I felt like we did that tonight.”

Senior forward Averi Gamble led the Irish tallying eight points to go along with five rebounds and three blocks.

Sophomore Sophie Ruggles added five points and led the team with 12 rebounds and three steals.

“I was real impressed with the way Sophie was getting after it on the glass tonight,” Brown said. “She’s usually one of our better scorers but I loved the way she was getting under the rim fighting tonight.”

Kayla Stone and Zoey Hunter each totaled six points for Carson City.

Carson City won both games against Sacred Heart last season, including a last second buzzer beater. The Eagles went on to claim the league title.

“It’s nice to start off with a win over these guys after last season,” said Brown. “This team has a lot of pride, the girls remember and know how bad it felt to lose that game.

“It was the first time in 16 years that we didn’t have a league championships so that’s been our number one goal, is to bring the championship back home.”

The win was the first real test for the Sacred Heart, which had defeated its last six opponents by double digits.

“It’s something where we knew going into the game that we weren’t going to run away with this one, said Brown. “ We took a different and more patient approach in this game an it paid off.”