Source: Detroit Free Press
Author: Mick McCabe
Taylor Jones and Siyeh Frazier turned the opening game of the girls basketball state tournament into their version of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better.
Up and down the court they went. If Frazier scored for Detroit Renaissance, then Jones felt compelled to immediately answer with a basket for Farmington Hills Mercy.
In the end, Jones did just a little bit more than her counterpart.
Jones scored a career-high 37 points Monday to offset Frazier's 33-point effort to lead Mercy to a 63-58 victory in the Class A district quarterfinal game at Renaissance.
"It's my senior year and she's got another year left," said Jones, who signed with Oakland. "I think I had the right to win."
Both Jones and Frazier were terrific and Frazier had 20 points before Mercy junior Katie Bryce drew the assignment of trying to stop Frazier.
"She hit four 'threes' and they knew we had to lock her down and then they put me on her," Bryce said. "I'm a good defender person. I tried to get in her head — I tried to mentally stop her. I wasn't talking trash to her; I was touching her, making sure she knew I was there and she couldn't get the ball by me."
Helping Bryce's defensive effort in the fourth quarter were Frazier's teammates, who rarely passed her the ball once Bryce began guarding her. She took only one shot until the final 10 seconds of the final period.
"Instead of slowing down and running our offense we went helter-skelter and that goes back to our youth," said Renaissance coach Kiwan Ward, who does not have a senior on the team. "The only thing we've been consistent of all season is being inconsistent."
Bryce was able to make it difficult for Frazier to dodge her and her teammates showed no patience as Bryce bottled her up.
"She's got great feet — she's a kid that's played soccer — and she's a smart kid," said Mercy coach Gary Morris.
Frazier tied the game with her first shot of the fourth quarter with 2:30 left and then Jones, who had scored most of her baskets by knifing through the defense, drilled an 18-footer.
"I was just playing the game — whatever they gave me I was going to take," said Jones. "They gave me the open shot; that's what I was going to take."
After a Renaissance turnover, Jones attacked the basket for a four-point lead and then she and Sierra Wangler each added a pair of free throws to ice the game. Taylor hit 14 of 15 free throw attempts.
A year ago Mercy (17-4) was ranked among the top five teams in the state and battled its way to the state semifinals. Jones would like to hope the win over Renaissance (12-7) was the beginning of another run to the Breslin Center.
"This was really important for me," she said. "I don't think we should lose in the first round after the season we had last year. I know it's kind of rough — we don't have the same team, but ... as long as we play hard each and every game I think we can get back."