Jacob Gormley said the advice from home prior to Friday night's game against Council Grove was to attack the basket.

Gormley did just that, opening the game with a three-point play and finishing it the same way in helping third-ranked (Class 2A) Sacred Heart to a 56-39 victory on its home floor.

Mason Richards broke open the game with a pair of 3-pointers one minute apart in the fourth quarter as the Knights ended the game on a 14-3 run over the final four minutes to improve to 14-2 overall.

Gormley's pregame advice came from his dad, Brian — Sacred Heart's head coach —who missed the game because of illness. Assistant coach Nick Pauls ran the show from the Sacred Heart bench.

"It was a little different," said Jacob Gormley, a 6-foot-3 junior, who shared team scoring honors with 12 points. "My dad brings an energy to the team, but coach Pauls did a great job getting us prepped for the game and it worked out; we got a win."

At least Pauls was familiar with his roster.

"It was a little bit different, but everyone we put on the floor, I had coached them in a JV game, and I work with them every day in practice," Pauls said. "The only difference is I'm doing more standing in this building than the elementary gym (JV games)."

Sacred Heart led the entire way after opening with leads of 6-0 and 11-3, but Council Grove (9-8) got within six points (42-36) with 4:42 left in the game. The Braves had a chance to get closer, but a 3-point attempt from the baseline failed to drop.

Richards then buried a 3-pointer at the 3:51 mark and after Mark Prendergast put back an offensive rebound just 14 seconds later, Richard knocked down another three with 2:47 left to give the Knights a 12-point cushion (50-38).

"I'm proud of the way our guys just kind of dug in when things didn't go their way or the calls weren't going their way," Pauls said. "When (Council Grove) hit a few threes to climb back in it, our guys dug in and then made plays on the offensive end."

Gormley and Caleb Gilliland each had 12 points to lead the Knights, while Richards had 10.

Ethan Buckner finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, while Prendergast and Alex Disberger added six points each.

Council Grove was led by Hadyn Bieling with 14 points, but the Braves were held to 29.2% shooting and outrebounded by 19 (43-24).

Sacred Heart girls 38, Council Grove 33

The Knights picked up their 12th win of the season despite a cold shooting night that saw them make just three field goals in the second half.

But, six of Sacred Heart's 17 second-half points came from senior guard Ally Cochran, who knocked down all six of her free throws in the final 21 seconds to help her team improve to 12-4 for the season.

"There was kind of a lid on the basket in the third quarter and we didn't score very much," Cochran said. "In the fourth quarter, we played as a team and got to the rim and made our free throws.

"I knew they'd be important down the stretch, and I stepped up and hit them."

The Knights missed 12 of 13 shots from the field in the third quarter and scored just four points.

But, Council Grove didn't gain any ground. The Braves (10-7) scored just four points of their own.

"Holy smokes, did you see someone climb up there and put Saran wrap over (the rim) at halftime?" Thompson said. "We just couldn't make anything. The second half, we put on a defensive clinic, but we just couldn't capitalize on any turnovers we got.

"No one was looking to make a play. In all fairness, we were doing a good job of sharing the ball, but no one was looking to pull the trigger. And when we were, we just have to finish."

Cochran scored nine points to lead Sacred Heart, while Teghan Slagle added seven points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Knights are assured of their first winning season in 11 years.

"It's awesome because we haven't done it since the year 2009," Cochran said. "Our seniors are very excited to be able to do this, but we're not done yet. We still have sub-state and hopefully state after that, so we have to keep pushing."