Sacred Heart's Taylor Higgins, right, dishes off a pass in...

Sacred Heart's Taylor Higgins, right, dishes off a pass in the second quarter against Kellenberg. Higgins scored a game-high 25 points to lead Sacred Heart to a 59-51 win. (Jan. 17, 2011) Credit: James Escher

Whenever Sacred Heart is in need of a basket, there is no doubt where the ball is going. Taylor Higgins is the Spartans' go-to player, and Monday, she provided the latest example of her offensive prowess.

Higgins scored a season-high 25 points as the shooting guard led Sacred Heart past CHSAA rival Kellenberg, 59-51.

"I just know that I have to step up, and in order for us to win, I need to have a big game,'' Higgins said. "I don't have a specific number of points I need to score, but [25] is a good number and I'm happy with the way I played.''

The Spartans, whose biggest lead was 11, were ahead 46-36 after the third quarter, but the Firebirds clawed back into the game. Katie Flynn hit a pair of three-pointers and Khadijah Donaldson added five points to put Kellenberg on an 11-4 run to start the fourth quarter.

Sacred Heart was clinging to a 52-49 edge with 50 seconds left before it made 7 of 8 from the free-throw line to stop Kellenberg's comeback attempt.

"I knew once they threw the press at us, we would stay relaxed,'' Higgins said. "They made their run but then we came back and made sure we secured the game.

"We hit our free throws to end the game, which was the most important part.''

The Trinity College-bound Higgins scored 13 of her team's 19 points in the third quarter and led the Spartans (10-3, 5-2 CHSAA) in scoring for the 11th time this season.

"She stepped up when she saw nobody else was scoring,'' Sacred Heart coach Mike Barrett said. "She got in a mismatch situation a couple of times, she demanded the ball and was able to finish. She puts the team on her back and takes the responsibility to get us the hard points.''

The Spartans' Becky Conto, Sam Cody and Ally Rosenthal were all responsible for guarding Donaldson, who had 15 points but was unable to find a consistent rhythm from the post.

"Our three forwards did a good job competing against Ms. Donaldson,'' Barrett said. "She still is an offensive force. It took all three of our bigs to keep her out of the paint.''

Conto had 10 points and five rebounds, while Cody and Nina Corcoran each added nine points and five rebounds for Sacred Heart.

Flynn had 14 points for Kellenberg.

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