Sacred Heart Falls in OT Heartbreaker


GRAND RAPIDS – Bree Salenbien’s jumper with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime lifted Adrian Lenawee Christian to a 46-44 overtime win over top-ranked Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart in a Class D state semifinal at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena on Thursday.

In a tightly-contested game, the two sides were tied at 9-9 after the opening quarter, with the Cougars taking a 23-21 lead at the half. The two entered the overtime period tied at 42-42.

Thursday’s semifinal appearance was the third straight for the Irish (25-1), who finished runner-up in 2016 and fell to eventual state champion Pittsford in the 2017 semifinals.

“When someone’s having a down day, I mean, basketball’s just a game,” Sacred Heart coach Damon Brown said. “I’ve had the pleasure of coaching these girls, some of these girls, four, three two years in the game of basketball. But these girls are all winners in the game of life in my book.”

Senior Sophia Ruggles recorded a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while fellow senior Scout Nelson contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Grace Reetz and Megan Nowak were the only other players to score for the Irish, as each chipped in with five points apiece.

A 6-2 freshman, Bree Salenbien tallied 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. Dani Salenbien also chipped in with 11 points for the Cougars (25-1).

The Irish rolled through the regular season with a 20-0 record, winning the Mid-State Activities Conference title. Sacred Heart picked up wins over Baldwin (64-12), McBain Northern Michigan Christian (36-27), Onekama (64-24), Fruitport Calvary Christian (37-20) and Bellaire (49-29).

The Irish graduate six seniors, as Ruggles, Nelson, Reetz, Nowak, Hadyn Terwilliger and Margaret Yonker close out their prep careers on Thursday.

“Words can’t really describe how much he means to me and how much this team means to me,” Ruggles said. “Yeah, I’m going to have to start tearing up if I have to talk about it. But I’m so blessed to have been able to play in this program and with these girls the last few years.”

Lenawee Christian will now face Chassell for the state championship at 10 a.m. Saturday. Chassell (26-1) rallied to hand Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes at 55-51 defeat in Thursday’s earlier semifinal.

Categories: Girls Basketball