Sacred Heart finished a basketball season Friday perhaps best defined by its setbacks.
In its 2016-17 campaign, the Gremlins lost three narrow tournament matchups to state-ranked opponents, a starting senior guard for 10 games, and took four losses in the city of Columbia.
What matters most, though, is that when the season ended, the Gremlins were apart of a narrow Class 2 state tournament matchup in Columbia.
Harrisburg broke the 10th tie of Friday’s third-place game at Mizzou Arena in Columbia with an 8-0 run in the final minute, defeating Sacred Heart 70-63 in the season finale for both teams.
Trent Lyles and Micah Tanguay led the Gremlins with 23 points each. Tanguay finished with 10 rebounds and went 9-for-16 from the field.
In 15 trips to the Class 2 state tournament, the fourth-place finish is second-best in Sacred Heart history.
“That’s saying a lot, because we’ve had some good ones.” Goodwin said of the team’s achievement. Sacred Heart won the state tournament in 2014.
Four Bulldogs finished in double-digit scoring. Cade Combs, who fouled out with 2:34 to play, had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead Harrisburg.
Harrisburg shot 25-for-32 from the free-throw line, while the Gremlins went 12-for-22.
Bulldogs head coach Steve Combs said the Harrisburg school send-off helped the team rebound from a disappointing result in the semifinals. Crane defeated Harrisburg 59-51 on Thursday.
“Our school really picked us up this morning,” Combs said. “The elementary kids lined the hallways … They were just cheering so loud. That, to me, was the start of this victory.
“Those kindergartners all the way up to our seniors in high school look up so much to these kids. These guys were always there, gave them fives when they were young, now it’s their turn … That is just what breeds success at Harrisburg, is, they see the older kids doing it.”
Gremlins center Colby Young, who fouled out in both games preceding Friday’s third-place game, finished with six points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes.
Goodwin said he played different rotations to protect the 6-foot-6 junior, and looks forward to his development next year.
“We tried a few people, but, we’re never as good when Colby is off the floor,” Goodwin said. “I think Colby goes straight up a lot of times for rebounds …He gets his legs taken out a lot. And that’s not good.
“That kid’s heart is as big as the Lincoln continental. He’s going to have to make a decision if he’s going to be the windshield or the bug down here, if we ever get back. And I think I know the answer.”
Alden Harding, who was sidelined with a broken arm for 10 games, said mid-season losses – Salisbury in Columbia, Lincoln in the Kaysinger Conference Tournament – motivated the Gremlins entering the postseason.
Young said he was further inspired by Harding’s return to the court.
“It was kind of rough at first,” Young said. “It was awesome for (Harding) to come back.”
Goodwin offered injuries – and successful recoveries – to Harding, Young and Tanguay as examples of Sacred Heart’s toughness throughout the season.
“It takes a lot,” Goodwin said. “But, I think it kind of makes it all worthwhile. We’re sitting here, and everybody else isn’t.
“We did Sedalia proud … It was one heck of a season.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2