Calhoun County basketball: Sacred Heart powers way past Raiders, into semifinals
by Joe Medley
Jan 22, 2014 | 3034 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE -- If it wasn’t clear before the Calhoun County Tournament, then the county should be awakened to Sacred Heart’s boys.

The Cardinals are no ordinary Class 1A team.

Quen Williams scored 25 points, and Sacred Heart cruised past Pleasant Valley 65-36 in Wednesday’s quarterfinal action in Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The fourth-seeded Cardinals (19-5) have earned Friday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal showdown with Class 6A Oxford, which has won the past three county tournaments.

“We’ve done played tougher teams than Oxford,” Williams said. “We come out ready to compete, and that’s what we’re going to do Friday.”

Oxford (6-17) lost 10 seniors from a year ago by made the semifinals by upsetting top-seeded Weaver 73-68 on Wednesday.

The Yellow Jackets won’t be the first 6A opponent Sacred Heart has played this season. The Cardinals are 1-2 against Spain Park, Smiths Station and South Forsyth (Ga.) in the Wills Valley Shootout at Fort Payne.

“We’ve played some 5A schools, also,” Sacred Heart coach Ralphael Graves said. “It really doesn’t matter if you’re a 1A or a 6A. You have to come and play basketball. That’s the way I look at it.”

Williams added seven rebounds to his performance. He scored 21 of his points as Sacred Heart built a 43-18 halftime lead Wednesday.

“Quen always does a great job of shooting the ball,” Graves said. “He took some quality shots and did exactly what I thought he would do.”

D.J. Heath added 15 points with eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Kevion Nolan scored 12 points, and Diante Wood added 11 points, seven boards and four assists.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Pleasant Valley coach Ronnie Preston said. “They’ve got some guys who can play.

“That No. 11 (Williams), I don’t think he missed but one 3-point shot in the first half, and it wasn’t like we weren’t guarding him. We were guarding him -- he was just hitting them.”

Sacred Heart took control quickly and led 25-10 by the end of the first quarter. Forward Trey Phillips led Pleasant Valley with 15 points, but the Raiders didn’t have answers for the Cardinals’ quickness.

“I thought we kind of stuck to our game plan to begin with,” Preston said. “We got the ball inside, but we didn’t finish. I counted about 12 points we left on the boards in the first half.

“It wouldn’t have made the ultimate difference in the game, but it would have helped.”

Sacred Heart downed Ohatchee to reach the quarterfinals. The Cardinals have had a look at Oxford this season, having played the Yellow Jackets in a jamboree.

No 1A school has won the Calhoun County Tournament. Oxford has won it 17 times.

“It would mean a lot,” Williams said. “It’s something we’ve never done, so, hopefully we’ll get a win.”

Sports columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576, On Twitter @jmedley_star.
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