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Mercy picks up early season Catholic League win over rival Marian

By: Jeff Dullack, December 9, 2016, 11:14 pm

Bloomfield Hills – In an unusually early Catholic League matchup against rival Birmingham Marian, Farmington Hills Mercy’s second half defense clamped down on Friday night.

After falling behind 27-21 at halftime on Friday night, the Marlins allowed just six points through the first 12 minutes of the second half as Mercy would pick up a 44-43 win to open up Catholic League play.

Mercy head coach Gary Morris said that playing a quality league opponent like Marian this early in the season was a challenge for his team, but said that he was pleased with his team’s play throughout the game on Friday night.

“We talked about it when we went in there, we said that we usually play Marian about a month from now, but that’s what the schedule says and we have to do it,” he said. “It’s certainly not an easy task to come here and play this early in the year, but I’m real proud of how our kids fought. Both teams made some mistakes that you’re going to be making in the third game of the year or in early December, but it’s a very nice win for us.”

Mercy would open up the third quarter on an 11-1 run that would last over seven minutes to retake the lead, 32-28, but Marian responded by scoring the final five points of the quarter to head to the fourth quarter with a narrow 33-32 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Marlins would again use a strong start to the quarter, using an 8-2 run to take a 40-35 lead after a pair of free throws from Katie Coe with 3:25 left to play.

With Marian having success getting to the basket in the first half, Morris said that his team switched into a zone defense in the second half.

“We switched up, we were playing man and then we went to a zone and we did a really nice job with our zone,” he said.

“We thought they were hurting us a little bit off the drive and they were hurting us with second shots. With this zone, when we get to the right spots, we can be pretty good with it and we were in the right spots most of the time in the second half.”

The two teams would exchange free throws in the following minutes as Mercy held on to a 42-37 lead after a pair of Chloe Godbold free throws, but Marian would again close the deficit down to just two points with just 14 seconds left to play on a 3-pointer from Hannah Redoute.

However, in the closing seconds, a basket from Jenna Schluter gave Mercy a two possession lead, 44-40 as a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Marian wouldn’t be enough, giving the Marlins a win in their league opener.

Godbold finished with a team-high 11 points to lead the way for Mercy, while Coe and Jackie Bauer each contributed 10 points in the win.

In the first half, Marian would erase an early deficit in the first quarter and would outscore Mercy 23-11 in over the course of the final minutes of the first quarter and throughout the second quarter as eight second quarter points from Lauren Montalbano gave the Mustangs a 27-21 lead at halftime.

Despite the loss, Marian coach Mary Cicerone said that the errors her team made tonight are things that can be fixed as the season goes on.

“I was telling the kids, everything I’m saying here, we can fix,” she said. “These are all easily fixed, some games, things just don’t fall your way. I thought we had a lot of good looks that didn’t go down, so all of these things can be fixed in a few weeks or in a month or two and hopefully they do.”

Sophomore Olivia Moore led Marian with 11 points on the night.