Marlin cagers move on the regional against Hartland
Farmington Hills Our Lady of Mercy is moving on in the Class A girls basketball state tournament.
The Marlins slipped past neighborhood rival North Farmington Friday night, 32-30, in the district championship game played at Farmington High School. The low-scoring game was close all the way.
"It was a battle which we figured it was going to be and it turned out to be," said Mercy head coach Gary Morris. "I'm very proud of the kids. I'm happy for them that they added a district championship to the Catholic League championship and the Central Division title which we won."
North Farmington, a member of the tough OAA Red Division, held an 8-6 lead after the opening quarter. The Marlins responded with an 8-3 second-quarter scoring advantage to take a 14-11 halftime lead.
The Marlins held the lead throughout the second half but were never able to close out the Raiders. North Farmington's Sam Randel and Kelly Lusk made some clutch threes in the third quarter to remain within striking distance. In the final moment, the Raiders had a shot that just wouldn't fall as Mercy escaped with the victory.
"We got up by seven points in the second half and they would come back," said Morris. "We made just enough free throws to maintain the lead. The missed a shot at the end that was just off."
Mercy was led by freshman Jess Mruzik who finished with a team-high nine points and six rebounds. Chloe Godbold added eight points, four rebounds, two steals and a pair of assists.
Jackie Bauer (seven points), Jenna Schluter (four points, four assists) and Katie Coe (four points) also performed well for the Marlins.
North Farmington's Kierra Crockett was the game's high scorer with 13 points. She also had seven rebounds.
Sam Cherney finished with seven points and seven rebounds while Randel registered six points.
North Farmington finished its season with a 16-6 overall record.
Mercy will take a 20-3 mark into the regional round of the state tournament which begins Tuesday at North Farmington.
The Marlins have a tough opening act as they will play Hartland (22-1) out of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association in the regional semifinal set for 7 p.m. Tuesday. Novi (17-6) and Walled Lake Western (19-4) will meet in the other semifinal.
The regional championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.