In a free-throw battle, Stephen-Argyle had the advantage Monday in both quantity and quality.
Sacred Heart, however, hit its free throws in a timely fashion. Six free throws in the final 1:47 allowed the Eagles to hang on to a 62-56 girls high school basketball win against the visiting Storm.
In a foul-plagued game -- the teams combined for 42 fouls -- Stephen-Argyle was 21-of-33 (64 percent) from the line compared to Sacred Heart’s 16-of-29 (55 percent). But Sacred Heart, ahead 56-50 with two minutes remaining, hit six free throws in the final 1:47 to maintain its lead.
“That (55 percent) is about what we shoot on the year,’’ Eagles coach Blake Karas said. “We need to improve on that. But we made just enough down the stretch.’’
Sacred Heart went to a spread offense in the final three minutes, trying to work down the clock. The result was a lot of free-throw opportunities.
“We went to a spread offense with no shots taken unless we got a layup,’’ Karas said. “They had to foul to get the ball and get back into the game. When we spread it out, if we hit our free throws we probably win by 15.’’
Stephen-Argyle also hit its share of free throws down the stretch, as all of its final 10 points came from the line. The teams needed free throws, as Sacred Heart made only seven field goals in the second half, one more than the Storm.
“I thought we played well offensively in the first half,’’ Karas said. “The defense had a lot to do with that (low field-goal total) in the second half. Stephen-Argyle made it difficult for us. They play good defense. We held them to six field goals (after halftime). If we don’t foul, that’s good defense.’’
Sacred Heart led only 33-28 at halftime, but built its lead to as many as 11 points in the second half.
The deficit put Stephen-Argyle in a difficult position.
“We don’t have the offensive firepower to come back,’’ Storm coach Dan Lindgren said. “You’re not going to come back when you turn the ball over as much as we do. We usually hit a few more shots from the outside than we did tonight.
“We didn’t lose because of lack of effort. The girls work hard. We hurt ourselves with turnovers, but it’s young kids, mostly sophomores, making mistakes. They’re figuring things out.’’
Sydney Lloyd had 21 points, Ivy Edwards 18 and Grace Vonesh 13 to lead Sacred Heart, which improved to 12-2 while extending its winning streak to eight games.
Riley Mooney’s game-high 22 points led the 6-7 Storm, with Grace Carlson adding 10.