By Jeremy Balan
Brian Harrigan won hundreds of games on the campus of Sacred Heart Cathedral during 18 years as head girls basketball coach for the Irish.
But In his most recent win on Ellis Street, Harrigan was coaching a team in brown and gold.
In his first return to Sacred Heart after leaving the program in 2009, the Lancers controlled the game from the start, opened up a 22-7 first-quarter lead and cruised to a 55-40 West Catholic Athletic League victory.
“I have a lot of great memories here and it’s a great place, but I’m proud to be a Lancer right now and I’m proud of my team that won today,” Harrigan said. “It’s a big win for our team. That’s really what it’s about. These young ladies have worked really hard and we’ve come a long way.”
The Lancers (16-6, 6-4) hit 9-of-15 shots from the floor in the first quarter, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and the Irish (11-12, 6-5) never cut the St. Francis lead to single digits the rest of the way.
“The game of basketball is a game of momentum and in the game last time, they had the big first quarter and tonight, we had the big first quarter,” Harrigan said. “They were climbing the hill for the rest of the game.”
The Irish offense was stagnant for most of the game and when they did get open looks, often rushed shot attempts.
“We were rushing our shots and trying to get a six-point play, instead of playing for each possession,” said Sacred Heart head coach Mike Carey. “I kept trying to get them to be physical and I saw some good things out there, but they were just too few and far between.”
Sacred Heart shot over 50 percent from the floor in the second half, but no Irish players scored in double figures and they could not recover from a 27-13 halftime deficit.
Much of Sacred Heart’s offensive problems stemmed from the absence of leading scorer GeAnna Summers-Luaulu, who is still recovering from the same stomach virus that plagued the St. Ignatius campus this week. With Summers-Luaulu, the Irish beat St. Francis 60-51 on the road.
Carey said the standout sophomore will be back playing next week, but the Irish struggled more than just offensively. The Lancers also outrebounded Sacred Heart 29-14.
“They were the aggressor on defense and hustling more on offense,” Carey said. “They were beating us to every loose ball, especially in the first half, where we would get a couple stops, but they would get the rebound and get another opportunity.”
Carey was a junior varsity coach under Harrigan for 12 seasons before taking over the varsity post and expressed his respect for the long-time coach, but was also happy to to put the game behind him.
“He did a lot for the this school and a lot for the program,” Carey said. “We’ve always joked that it should be [called] Harrigan Court – nothing against the Christian Brothers. It was a good atmosphere, but I’m glad we got rid of the circus.”
Jenna Thompson – 17
Lizzie Stelling – 11
Shelbi Almonetti – 7
Lauren Johnson – 6
Vanessa D’Amico – 5
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Juliet Courtney – 8
Jerrieza Enriquez – 7
Kayla Coloyan – 6
Ashley Gainer – 6
Briannah Smith – 4