Nick Beauregard had one request of his Sacred Heart of Jesus High School basketball team heading into Friday night’s game with the Madison Academic High School. That request was for more intensity.
The Knights delivered en route to a 61-32 throttling of the Mustangs to even the schools’ all-time series at three games each before a packed gym of boisterous fans at St. Mary’s.
“I was disappointed in our team’s intensity in the last game with South Gibson and told the team we had to show more intensity in this game,” Beauregard said.
“They took it to heart and really played with great hustle. which really set the tempo for the game. Even early in the game when we were not making a lot of shots, our hustle on defense was helping our offense get points.”
The Knights opened the game with a 13-2 run behind eight points, including two 3s, from Dontae Williamson and some early hustle baskets from Wes Ragsdale.
Sacred Heart’s defensive intensity clogged the middle stopping much of Madison’s offensive effort and forcing multiple turnovers.
The Mustangs found a glimmer of their shooting touch in the second quarter, closing the gap to seven and a 23-16 Sacred Heart halftime lead as Marquese Parram and Isaac Neely combined for 10 second quarter points.
However, Sacred Heart countered with a 21-7 run in the third quarter, including nine points from Evan Ashlock, to break the game open and built a lead of up to 31 before the game finished.
Williamson finished with 16 points to lead all scorers and Ashlock and Ragsdale added 13 and 11 respectively for SHJHS, which improves to 2-3 on the short season.
Parram finished with 12 for Madison, which falls to 0-5.
“We outhustled them tonight,” Ashlock said. “We really wanted to bring the intensity that coach wanted.”
“This was a big win for us,” Beauregard said. “I am really proud of how our players stepped up to the challenge tonight.”
Madison Academic 48, Sacred Heart 14
Michah Traylor led all scorers with 19 points as the Mustangs jumped to a 28-8 halftime lead.
Taliyah Morgan added nine points for Madison, which improves to 2-3 on the season. Hannah Fitzgerald scored all 14 of the Knights’ points as they fall to 0-5.