Source: MI Prep Zone
Author: Drew Ellis
WEST BLOOMFIELD – Starting off district play on the host team’s court isn’t easy and Farmington Hills Mercy looked like it might have its hands full with West Bloomfield in Wednesday’s Class A district semifinal.
The Marlins trailed early against the Lakers but eventually got themselves on track with a 15-0 run in the second quarter that carried them to a 58-47 victory.
“(West Bloomfield) is a team that is good enough to scare you, especially on their home floor in districts. I thought we came out with a bit of nerves and struggled shooting early, but once we settled down, we were able to play well,” Mercy coach Gary Morris said.
Mercy (15-6) established an 11-8 lead after the first, but then turned up the defensive pressure on West Bloomfield (11-10), which struggled with turnovers for the remainder of the game.
“The first quarter and early in the second quarter, we did things the way we practiced and were right there with them,” West Bloomfield coach Zach Hilbers said. “The momentum just fell out of our hands then and that run really sunk us.”
The 15-0 run in the second was sparked by Jackie Bauer, who had a pair of 3-pointers to start the rally. The Marlins would take a 34-17 lead into halftime and then build that into a 49-21 lead after three.
“The second quarter we were really good. Our offense started clicking,” Morris said. “I think that carried early into the third quarter and we were able to do a really good job defensively. We were real pleased to be ahead by a nice margin at that point.”
In the fourth, West Bloomfield left it all on the floor and outscored the Marlins 26-9, trying to make the most out of its final quarter of play.
“I told the girls they could write the last six minutes of the game however they wanted to write it and they really battled until the end,” Hilbers said. “How cool is it that they forced a five-second violation with five seconds left in the game and down 11? It really showed how hard they played.”
Bauer finished with a team-high 14 points to lead Mercy while Zora Pullen, Marisa Hardenbergh and Jenna Schluter each had seven points.
West Bloomfield was led by Mazey Kyriakoza, Charlika Stubbs and Jamia Elam, who each11 points.
Mercy now advances to Friday’s district final where it will face Farmington Hills Harrison at 7 p.m. from West Bloomfield High School. Harrison defeated North Farmington, 56-52 in overtime, to reach the finals.
“Harrison is a team that was highly ranked early in the season but went through some changes and battled some adversity,” Morris said. “They will be a formidable challenge but we think our schedule has prepared us well for this time of year.”