Perfection-Sacred Heart girls go 29-0 in ‘15

   It’s not the same as a perfect season and not the kind of mark you’ll find on a plaque or a trophy.
    No, FC Sacred Heart’s perfect 2015 calendar year in girls basketball is mostly scrapbook material for now. But it’s scrapbook material with potential, because only when you start keeping track of winning streaks in terms of planetary revolutions around the sun, can those scrapbooks have a chance to be translated into record books. Some records, particularly individual ones, can be trivial, but the ones written by teams, encompassing more than one group of players and recorded in terms of calendar years? Those are valuable and endure long after the high scorers move on. Some outlast even generational turnover. A member of last fall’s FCSH football team, for instance, spoke about the Irish’s 87-game winning streak in the 1980s and 90s. A streak that ended two years before the kid was even born. That winning streak started nearly three decades ago, yet today is well-known not just at Sacred Heart, but throughout all of Nebraska, among young and old alike. Same with Wahoo’s 114 straight wins in boys’ basketball during that same era, and the West Point Central Catholic girls’ 111 consecutive victories from 2001-06.
    There may or may not be a plaque commemorating, say, Wahoo’s perfect 1990 basketball season, but when you win that prolifically, the plaques and trophies accumulate with such frequency there’s no place to even store them, let alone read the engravings.
    The Sacred Heart girls have a long, long ways to go before they threaten West Point CC’s string of consecutive wins, but after posting a 29-0 record in 2015, it’s not totally unreasonable to at least have the conversation.
    The defending D2 champs finished ‘15 like they started it – with defense so stout, potentially unforgiving rims or the occasional “off” nights are completely thrown out of the equation. On Dec. 30, 2014, FCSH lost 39-31 to Sutton in the championship of the Freeman Holiday Tournament. Exactly one year — to the day — later, the Lady Irish avenged that loss with a 39-24 victory at Adams. It came on the heels of a 32-22 win over the 7-2 hosts. The Irish’s all-stater and recent member of the 1,000-point club, 6-1 point guard Maggie Goltz, was 3-for-11 from the floor and scored eight points, while it’s top scorer, Alexis Barnes, had 10. Tepid offensive numbers, too be sure. Didn’t matter in the slightest — the Irish out-rebounded Sutton 2-to-1 (Goltz and Sara Wertenberger each pulled down nine), and the Lady Irish allowed seven Sutton total field goals.
    It was the same song, different verse, as the night before, when Goltz only took seven shots, scored nine, and Barnes led the team with 13, all coming in the second half (she drained three triples to blow things open in the third quarter). Freeman, like Sutton, made seven shots all night and the Irish won 32-22. Sacred Heart is 9-0 and eight times have held the opposition to fewer than 30 points, with the exception being a 50-39 win over Sterling in the season opener. Incidentally, that remains the Jets’ lone loss and they’ve climbed to No. 2 in the latest ratings.
    But it’s a distant No. 2. Six of those nine wins have come against highly regarded teams with winning records (7-2 Friend, a 45-24 Irish win, most notably, in addition to the two holiday tourney victories). The team will face either Bruning-Davenport or Exeter-Milligan in next week’s MUDECAS semifinals. Both are 8-1 and both lost handily to Friend. Then will be a rematch with either Sterling or Freeman. After that, one regular season opponent currently has a winning record and it’s 2-1 Doniphan County (KS) West, a team that didn’t go .500 last winter and the Irish defeated 55-20. The Irish will also likely meet Friend again at the Pioneer Conference — just like ‘15, when FCSH took a fifth conference crown in eight years with a 55-38 win, coach Luke Santo’s 200th in just his
    FCSH senior Maggie Goltz scored 20 and eclipsed 1,000 career points Saturday afternoon, leading the top-ranked Class D2 defending champions to a 43-27 victory at St. Joseph (MO) Leblond. Junior Haylee Heits was completely dominate inside, grabbing eight offensive boards and a dozen overall, while blocking four shots.
    Goltz becomes the ninth member of the 1,000-point club at Sacred Heart, joining ‘15 FCSH graduates and four-year starters Abby and Elizabeth Magdanz as the newest initiates. Katelyn Wheeler owns the all-time school record with 1,408 points and Goltz could feasibly catch her, though the point guard would have to practically double her shot attempts and average 20 points per game.
    It likely means little, as long as each game is a victory. And that’s the way its been for going on 12 months now. FCSH lost to Sutton in the first round of the Freeman Holiday Tournament on Dec. 30, 2014 and since then, they’ve run off 26 consecutive wins and need one win tonight and a championship at Freeman to post an 29-0 banner 2015.
    “We’re very good defensively,” FCSH Coach Luke Santo said, “that’s a big part of it. We have four starters that are six-feet tall – and our sixth is, too – it’s just unbelievable for a Class D2 school. They’re so long that teams can’t shoot over us and they get frustrated.”
    That may be putting it mildly; FCSH is off to a 6-0 start in its title defense and its last five opponents haven’t even put 30 points on the board. Over the course of the entire last year, only three of the 26 opponents reached 40. Those are crushing defensive numbers.
    The team lost the four-year starting Magdanz twins, both 1,000-point career scorers, but regained Heits, who missed all of last year with a knee injury, and are much improved in the frontcourt with her hitting the boards.
    “She’s very strong – it’s great to have her back,” Santo said. “Haylee has real strong hands and has good footwork, too.”
    Elmwood-Murdock, a Class C2 school, was a 19-win team a year ago and is traditionally a pretty tough out, but they aren’t bringing a very experienced team to Prichard tonight. Besides, the Irish held them to 28 points a year ago.
Scoring vs. St. Joseph Leblond
    FCSH — Goltz, 20; Fiegener, 2; Wertenberger, 2; Barnes, 7; Hill, 5; Keithley, 2; Heits, 5.
Scoring vs. Humboldt-TR-S
    FCSH — Huppert, 4; Ebel, 2; Goltz, 11; Fiegener, 2; Witt, 2; Wertenberger, 3; Barnes, 9; Hill, 4; Parrish, 4; R. Keithley, 3; Heits, 8.
   HTRS — Binder, 4; Blank, 2; Stalder, 3; Jena Fink, 4; Svoboda, 6; Reyes, 7; Ja. Fink, 2.
Scoring vs. Lewiston
   FCSH — Ebel, 6; Goltz, 16; Fiegener, 4; B. Coonce, 2; Wertenberger, 10; Barnes, 6; Hill, 9; Parrish, 2; Heits, 8.

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