January 22nd, 2011

Mercy Beats Owensboro Catholic In Finale

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

Mercy Beats Owensboro Catholic In Finale
photo by Brad Knoop

Jaguars top Aces 71-41 in Raatz Fence Classic

On an ideal day to be indoors, Mercy Academy provided the place. 

The Raatz Fence Basketball Classic is a blizzard of six games throughout the day. It hosts teams from across the state, with some high level talent being watched by D-I coaches from Louisville to Lexington to Maryland. Six of the 12 teams participating are ranked in the Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Top 20, including top ranked DuPont Manual and No. 2 Mercy.

After watching four of those games, you could tell the Mercy’s Jaguars were chomping at the bit to get on the court. And when they finally did, Mercy (15-3) blazed a trail past Owensboro Catholic (14-5) 71-41.

Mercy raced past Owensboro Catholic at the opening tip, building a 9-0 lead before the Aces finally hit a free throw. A three pointer from sophomore Whitney Hartlage, a steal and score by senior Catherine Dircksen and a three point shot from sophomore Kayla Richardson gave the Jaguars a 23-2 advantage after the first quarter.  Mercy held O-Catholic without a field goal in the first 9.5 minutes of the game.

Mercy remained relentless in the second quarter, continuing to play aggressive defense and push the ball on offense.  They were playing at a higher gear than Owensboro Catholic and dominated the entire night.  On one possession, the Jaguars raced to the ball after four missed shots on the offensive end, and finally senior Juliann Miller scored the bucket.  Sophomore Caroline Keck was on the receiving end of a sweet pass from Miller to push the lead to 26 points.  Senior Lauren Faris’ behind-the back-pass to Hartlage drew “oohs” and “ahhhs” from the crowd.  Hartlage led Mercy in scoring, with all 15 of her points coming in the first half.

Mercy’s advantage at the break was 46-17.

Owensboro Catholic’s Rebecca Greenwell scored 24 of the team’s 41 points as Mercy continued to use its pace to put the game away. 

A sequence midway through the third quarter had the Aces seeing double. Junior Christine Roush hit a jumper to put Mercy ahead by 30 points.  Her twin sister, junior Courtney Roush, scored the next two Mercy baskets- one a nice drive to her left. Christine then drove again to the hole. 

And on the very next possession, Christine blocked an Aces’ shot which led to a fast break and a finish with a foul for senior Emily Goetz.  Goetz scored ten points. The Roushes combined for 12.

“We just tried to stay focused all day until we could get out there, junior Christine Roush said. 

Senior Juliann Miller added, “We were excited and ready to play.” 

And as for the pace at which the Jaguars race, Miller said, “That’s what we work on in practice. That’s all I know.”

Mercy Head Coach Mark Evans says he has a very good team right now.  But will they be up to the task of repeating as Kentucky’s state champions? 

“Between now and the tournaments we have to find out if our perimeter players will learn to play well enough together like our perimeter players did last season,”

Sacred Heart, Bullitt East, Butler and Bryan Station were also winners at the Raatz Fence Basketball Classic. This annual one-day hoops festival is put together by Mercy assistant coach Keith Baisch.

Mercy gets ready for next week Republic Bank Girls’ Louisville Invitation Tournament.


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