There were lots of clues that the Sacred Heart Cathedral girls’ basketball team would make short work of Enterprise in the NorCal Division III quarterfinals Thursday.
There was the Irish’ impressive 28-2 record compared with the Hornets’ 17-11 mark. There was the dearth of student supporters at Sacred Heart’s usually rowdy gym.
But Enterprise coach Tina Hill captured it best when, before the game, she smiled and said, "I understand we’re playing quite a phenomenal team."
The defending state champion Irish defeated the Hornets 70-32, had three players score in double figures and 10 players contribute points. The top-seeded Irish advance to Saturday’s 7 p.m. semifinals, where they will host fifth-seeded St. Mary’s of Stockton (28-4).
"We knew our athleticism was going to be a problem for them," Sacred Heart coach Brian Harrigan said. "We knew we were going to play a tempo we didn’t think [Enterprise] could stay with for 32 minutes."
Harrigan’s prediction proved true as the Irish led 19-8 after the first quarter, almost all of those points coming on fastbreaks. Jazmine Jackson scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the quarter. The Irish offense continued its onslaught, scoring another 19 points in the second quarter — and that was with a lot of missed layups.
"In the first half, we left 16 to 20 points on the court," Harrigan said. "The teams [we face as we advance in the playoffs] are going to get better. We can’t do that."
In the second half, the Irish offense rose to the level of its relentless defense. Time and time again, the Hornets were left watching the back of the Irish as they scored layup after layup. Tierra Rogers scored four of her 10 points in the third quarter, two on a brilliant take that involved two fakes and a drive past multiple Enterprise defenders.
Hillary Hurley, the Hornets’ only effective offensive threat, began showing signs of frustration and fatigue halfway through the third quarter. Enterprise only managed seven points in the third quarter and three in the fourth.
Harrigan doesn’t think this relatively easy win will cause his team to lose focus.
"We played a pretty good schedule," Harrigan said. "Our kids understand. They’ve been through this before."
Ki-Ki Moore added 10 points for the Irish while Lauren Bell added seven points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Sacred Heart Cathedral 70, Enterprise 32