Gainesville — After facing off twice in the opening round of the annual Holiday Classic at NCTC, Era and Sacred Heart were split even – the Lady Hornets beat SHHS in the tournament’s first game and the Sacred Heart boy’s team used speed and strong defense to win their opener against EHS.
Era girls 49, Sacred Heart girls 38
It was a tale of two halves in the first game of the day, with Sacred Heart jumping out to an early lead before Era came back to win late and earn a berth to the semifinal round with a win.
“We struggled early, but I liked the way we fought and did a better job in the second half,” Lady Hornets head coach Don Neu said. “We went to the man press and that helped us, not only offensively but with rebounds too. We were getting beat on the boards early on and I thought the press helped us.”
SHHS had little trouble early on, leading 16-6 at one point and holding a 20-12 halftime lead. But Era caught fire after switching to a full court press, outscoring the Tigerettes 18-8 in the third and winning the fourth quarter 19-10 to secure the win.
Era Senior forward Sydney Beuthien led all scorers with 17, while SHHS senior guard Peyton Reiter finished with a team high 12 points.
Sacred Heart boys 61, Era boys 48
The script was reversed in the schools’ second matchup of the first round, as Sacred Heart started strong and never looked back in its win against the Hornets.
Earning a handful of steals on the defensive end, the Tigers jumped out to an 18-7 lead. Era sophomore guard Alan McClung scored eight straight points in the last minutes of the first half to cut the edge to 26-22, but Sacred Heart responded with a 14-4 run of its own to stay ahead. Brady Endres hit a corner 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 20-point lead and the team cruised the rest of the way, leading by double digits for the final half of the fourth quarter.
McClung led all scorers with 24 points and junior forward Hayden Schilling finished with 14 for SHHS.