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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Mercy earns a trip to the Breslin Center, with a 64-27 dismantling of Romulus

By: Branden Hunter, March 11, 2014, 10:22 pm

FERNDALE – The Miami Marlins didn’t have a successful season in 2013, at 62-100. But the Mercy Marlins are having one of their best seasons in history.

They stormed their way into the state semifinals, with a 64-27 dismantling of Romulus. It is their first trip back to the Breslin Center since they went way back in 1991.

"It has been a great ride and a great run so far," coach Gary Morris said. "We talked about this, being battle tested. We played the Plymouth-Canton schools, Goodrich , Marian three times and obviously last week having to go through Grosse Pointe South and King."

I feel we are ready for anything we might see."

Mercy (25-1) was never tested in this one;well they did trail 1-0 with 5:47 left in the first, but would soon jump off to a 17-3 lead with 2:42 left in the first, on a basket by junior Taylor Jones.

Jones and Mercy scored most of their points off of Romulus turnovers in the first. The Lady Eagles had 15 to be exact in the quarter and trailed 21-7.

"We wanted to come out on a good start and that’s what we did," Jones said. "Coach wanted us to stay poised, because the game wasn’t over until the clock expired." 

Mercy only trailed in the game for 29 seconds and was in complete control throughout. The Marlins increased their lead to 15 at the half, at 36-18, with Jones leading the way with 14 of her game-high 18.

"I thought we started off pretty well, although I we were a little tight offensively," Morris said. "Defensively I thought we were good and we able to turn them over some and then the third quarter we just really played well."

If Romulus didn’t learn from their mistakes in the first half, it got worse for them in the second. Sierra LeGrande launched a 3-pointer not even nine seconds into the third quarter, that sparked a 20-0 run by Mercy. 

Senior Candice Leatherwood also got in on the action, scoring nine of her 18 points in the third, including a steal and a score that made it 56-18 with 4:16 left in the third.

"Our defense sparked that run," said Morris. "They couldn’t handle it and we we’re getting a ton of steals from our press."

Jones and Leatherwood combined for seven of those steals, not to mention their 36 points. 

"That’s kind of been the run through the tournament, those two," Morris said. "They go all the way back to grade-school together and their having a heck of a run in the tournament."

Romulus (21-5) was also having a great year, but the clock struck twelve for them earlier than they would have liked. Seniors Bianca Buckley and Cierra Bond both played well with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 points, 5 rebounds respectively.

The team committed 37 turnovers on the night, which will lose you games at any level.

"We threw the ball away too much," coach Herb Buckley said. "It didn’t matter who we put in, because everyone was doing the same thing."

It have had something to do with the quarterfinals. Maybe their nerves were bad, because everyone was running wild.

Mercy will now play rival Marian in the state semifinals in East Lansing on Friday. This will be the fourth time the two teams have seen each other, with Mercy holding the 2-1 advantage. Saying Marian might be out for revenge would be an understatement.

"They told us in the locker room that we are playing Marian, but we are ready," Jones said. "We haven’t come this far just to lose."