The basket really wasn’t as big as the ocean, but you could have fooled Tate Herrenbruck.
The 5-foot-10 Sacred Heart guard splashed six out of six shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter to get the Knights started, and when the smoke cleared Sacred Heart had registered an 84-57 non-league victory over Cair Paravel Latin School of Topeka on Friday night.
The Knights improved to 6-2 on the season while Cair Paravel fell to 11-6.
Facing a 1-3-1 zone to begin the game, Herrenbruck found lots of space in the corners or the elbows to launch his artillery barrage.
“The rim looked pretty big,” Herrenbruck said, “and I was having a pretty good game. All the shots were falling, and I was just trying to get as many up as I could in that first quarter.”
His 18 points helped the Knights build a 24-16 lead after a quarter and got the taller Lions out of their zone defense. That played directly in to Sacred Heart coach Brian Gormley’s hands.
“Once you hit a couple of 3s and get them spread out," he said, "it’s easy to get easy buckets for everyone else in the paint because they are worried about the 3-point shots.”
Sacred Heart opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run that bumped the Knight lead to 16, 34-18, and by intermission, they had a comfortable 19-point cushion.
“That wasn’t necessarily the game plan,” Gormley said of Herrenbruck’s hot hand, “but it worked out that way. I haven’t seen six for six in one quarter before. The other guys figured it out after he hit the first two and they just kept feeding him the ball.”
Herrenbruck was began getting plenty of help from the role players on the team, primarily Mark Pendergast and Caleb Gilliland.
Pendergast drew three charges at the defensive end and went well over his career-scoring high with 16 points. Gilliland finished with eight.
“Mark is an undersized forward but he’s explosive and strong and he’s figured out that he can protect the rim better with his chest.”
“Yeah, I’m a role player on this team,” Pendergast said. “Early in the year defense was my primary role but lately I’ve started working on my under the basket offense and I’ve tried to improve that part of my game as well and before tonight, my career high was two points.” Against the Lions he tallied 16.
Everything was flowing for the Knights in this one as they finished shooting 54.8 percent from the field (34 of 62), led by Herrenbruck’s 22.
Charlie Skidmore was also good for 16 points and Trace Leners 10. Hunter Anderson and Peyton Smith led Cair Paravel with 17 each.
Sacred Heart girls 69, Cair Paravel 56
The girls game turned out to be a match of Sacred Heart speed and athleticism against the long-range shooting of the Lions.
To offset the 3-point shooting, Arnold Schmidtberger turned loose his team in a full-court zone press to speed up the Cair Paravel's deliberate pace and helped produce a 13-point win.
“They handled it pretty well,” Schmidtberger said of the press. “They even got some transition baskets against it.”
But the Knights had their own long-range bombers, and while the Lions finished with 10 3s, Sacred Heart tallied eight.
Hannah Goetz led the way with 20 points, while Teghan Slagle finished with 17 as she controlled the paint.
“When we hit some outside shots, it pulled their zone out," Slagle said, "so we were wide open down low and the guards were doing a good job of getting it to us and we did a good job of finishing.”
Joining Slagle in working the low block were Emilee Everett with eight points and Ella Gotti with seven. Ally Cochran also scored seven and grabbed nine rebounds.