Author: Dan O'Meara / Marty Budner
Farmington Hills Mercy had just the kind of basketball game coach Gary Morris wanted for his team before going into postseason play next week.
That was a good, competitive game against a quality opponent and which resulted in a nice, comfortable victory for the Marlins.
Mercy finished the regular season with a 16-4 record after beating host Dearborn Heights Robichaud, 74-57.
Both teams were honorable mentions in their respective Associated Press polls – the Marlins in Class A, the Bulldogs, who had been a top-10 team, in B.
"It was a good win for us in that they're very athletic, very physical and very aggressive," Morris said. "I thought our kids really responded well. We competed hard; we didn't back off at all."
The Marlins scored 19 points in each of the first two quarters and led at halftime, 38-32. They had their best quarter, offensively and defensively, in the third and outscored Robichaud, 25-11.
"We thought we could have been ahead by more than that," Morris said of the six-point halftime score. "We addressed some things at halftime. We came back and really played well at both ends of the floor in the third quarter."
Mercy's Taylor Jones registered 29 points to lead all scorers, and fellow senior Zora Pullen tossed in a career-high 22.
Senior Sierra Wangler was just two rebounds shy of having a triple double with 13 points, 11 assists and eight boards.
Pullen also had a well-rounded game that included five assists, four rebounds and two steals. Junior Jordyn Schluter chipped in four points and five boards, and Jones dished out five assists, too.
"Taylor led us in scoring and was very good in that aspect," Morris said. "Zora gave us a nice lift. She was very aggressive around the basket and good at making shots there."
He added Pullen, who had 14 points at halftime, was limited in the second half due to foul trouble and eventually fouled out with under three minutes to go in the game.
"Sierra Wangler, as you can see by the stat line, had a really good all-round game," Morris said. "In addition to that, she played really good defense."
The Marlins gave up 57 points, but Morris wasn't all that unhappy with it, considering the Bulldogs have a lot of weapons on offense and can really attack the basket, he said.
Kamaria McDaniel and Cha'Von Tiggs scored 19 points apiece for Robichaud, which plays in the same district as Dearborn Divine Child. Kayla Brown added 12.
Mercy, which scrimmaged Ann Arbor Huron, the No. 6 team in Class A, earlier this week, will play district host Detroit Renaissance on Monday.
"Along with the schedule we've played, we hope tonight's game against a ranked team in Class B that pushes the ball and is athletic and physical, has us ready for next week," Morris said. "We think it will. We'll go there and compete hard in our district."