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Turnovers take the sting out of the Hornets

Sacred Heart played a thief’s game against Loyd Star Thursday night, stealing pass after pass to slow down the Hornets’ offense and win the game 62-54.

The Crusaders broke the 24-all halftime tie by turning on a vulgar defense that reached out and sucked Hornets’ passes out of the air and turned them into transition baskets for Sacred Heart. Loyd Star’s shooters stayed hot enough throughout the second half to keep the Crusaders from going on any kind of run, but the visitors built a roughly 10-point lead they nursed all the way to the final whistle and sent Loyd Star home from Enterprise’s Lincoln County Invitational Basketball Tournament with a loss.

“We just gotta look where we’re passing the ball,” said Loyd Star junior Zabian Price. “We had turnovers, we had bad passes, we didn’t rebound.”

Price led his team with 14 points that included a pair of three-point shots, and senior Titus Sims and junior Dane Smith scored 13 and 11, respectively. Loyd Star’s shooters held up their end of the deal, but as a team the Hornets turned the ball over 21 times and only stole back nine from Sacred Heart.

Smith fouled out of the game late and took his hot hand to the bench. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart continued moving the ball in transition and sneaking shooters behind the Loyd Star defense for easy layups.

“We did some good things, but we came back and did two or three bad things and that hurt us,” said Loyd Star coach Gene Britt. “We didn’t look to check the defensive man and see if he was there — just passed the ball anyway. That’ll be a turnover every time.”

Before the Crusaders’ second-half onslaught, both teams were evenly matched.

The first quarter ended with the Hornets leading 13-12, and the halftime buzzer sounded on a 24-all tie. But Sacred Heart’s third-quarter defense took the lead and increased it by six with six minutes remaining in the third and by 10 with four minutes remaining in the third.

The Crusaders were up by 11 when the fourth quarter started, but Loyd Star’s steady shooting was offset by its sloppy ball-handling.

“We just raised our level of intensity on defense, to play a little more poised,” said Sacred Heart coach Brian Butler. “Loyd Star shoots the ball well, and that’s the great equalizer right there. They scared us a little bit so we had to change it up.”

With the loss, the Hornets fall below .500 to 4-5, while Sacred Heart’s victory takes them to 5-5. Loyd Star travels to Wesson Tuesday night to face the 7-2 Cobras and hosts Enterprise Thursday.

Sacred Heart will travel to the gulf to take on St. Patrick Friday night.