Source: Hometown Life
Author: Dan O'Meara
After watching a big first-half lead disappear, Farmington Hills Mercy managed to bear down and refocus its effort at the end of the basketball game Tuesday.
And that made it a happy ending for the Marlins, who scored the last four points to defeat visiting Harper Woods Chandler Park, 39-35.
The Eagles overcame a 16-point deficit late in the first half to tie the score at 35-35 with just over two minutes to play in the game.
Mercy forced three consecutive turnovers, and senior Katie Bryce made the play of the game after the second one. She stole the ball at mid court and went in for the go-ahead layup.
While the Eagles missed three three-point attempts in the final 11/2 minutes, Mercy seniors Jackie Bauer and Jordyn Schluter each made the first of two free throws to clinch the win.
“We got more aggressive defensively again,” Marlins coach Gary Morris said. “We were playing on our heels. We had given up some threes, and I think we were tentative at closing out.
“For the most part, we played pretty well defensively. They only scored 35 points. In the last minute and a half, we did a nice job taking care of the basketball and ran a lot of clock. We did enough to win.”
Mercy made a 10-0 run midway in the first quarter to get the lead and was ahead 26-10 late in the first half after baskets by Morgan Brietzke and Jenna Schluter.
Chandler Park’s Mykquel Williams nailed a three and made a deuce at the buzzer to cut the margin to 11 points at halftime.
“We were very pleased with the first half,” Morris said. “I thought it was our best half of the season in terms of both ends of the floor.
“What we kept addressing with our kids in the second half was we got tanetative. We were very aggressive in the first half, and then we started to play tentatively. We told the kids: ‘Win or lose, let’s play aggressively.’
“We wanted to win the first four minutes of the third quarter and, obviously, we didn’t do that. From then on, it was a tight game the rest of the way.”
Naja Farrell made back-to-back treys early in the fourth quarter and cut a seven-point Mercy lead to one, 31-30.
The Marlins (3-3) scored the next four – all at the foul line – before Chandler Park’s Jamila Tone sank a three and Dakata Toney a pair of free throws to tie the score.
“We played them last year and jumped on them early,” Morris said. “We had a big lead at the half. It was very similar. They played us more aggressively and tougher in the second half.
“(Eagles coach) Dave Mann has been around a long time, going back to the Bishop Borgess days. I’ve done battle with a lot of his teams, and they’re going to play to the final horn.”
Bauer and junior Katie Coe scored eight points apiece to lead the Marlins. Lauryn Hauncher had seven and Jordyn Schluter six.
Williams led all scorers with 14. Toney and Farrell finished with six apiece for the Eagles (2-4).
Neither team shot free throws well. Mercy made 35 percent (7-of-20) and Chandler Park 23 percent (3-of-13).
“I’m sure they would echo this sentiment,” Morris said. “It would have been a lot easier if we had made more free throws. That’s the worst we’ve shot this year.”
He added the Marlins have been a better practice team lately.
“I think our effort in games has been really good,” Morris said. “We’ve practiced a lot harder in the last few practices, and that’s going to help us in games.”