January 28th, 2011

Mercy, Sacred Heart Advance In LIT Action

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Mercy, Sacred Heart Advance In LIT Action
photo by Chris Jung

Assumption knocked out by duPont Manual 68-55

The change of scenery in the girls high school basketball Louisville Invitational Tournament didn't diminish the intensity of the action on Thursday night, as eight local squads played in second round LIT action at Male High School.

Of the four games on Thursday, three featured teams from Catholic high schools, as Mercy Academy, Assumption High School and Sacred Heart Academy all played with spots in the tournament quarterfinals on the line.

Below are recaps from each of those games. Quarterfinal games will be played on Friday evening at the LIT's original location - Bellarmine University's Knights Hall.

Mercy Academy (16-3) 52 Bullitt East (17-6) 43

Going into its second round LIT game on Thursday, the Bullitt East High School girls basketball team had won 12 of its last 14 games, with the two losses coming by a combined four points.

But the Lady Chargers hadn't seen a defense as intense as Mercy, and it showed. The Jaguars pounced on Bullitt East early, used an up-tempo first quarter to set the tone and take control, and held on late to win 52-43. The Mercy victory snapped Bullitt East's five-game winning streak.

Senior guard Lauren Faris, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, led all scorers with 14 points on 2-of-2 shooting from long range. She also had three rebounds and two steals in a team-high 30-plus minutes of action.

Mercy, the defending LIT champions, started the game on an 8-2 run after drawing three Bullitt East offensive fouls in the game's first two and a half minutes. The Jags also dominated the offensive glass to create scoring opportunites and eventually took a 30-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Junior Christine Roush picked up her fourth personal foul early in the third quarter, and the Chargers put together a 5-0 run to start the second half after she came out of the game. A layup by senior Catherine Dircksen at the 5:50 mark, however, temporarily stopped the Bullitt East momentum.

The Chargers' comeback bid took a big blow just over a minute later, as its main offensive weapon - senior center Lindey Young - picked up her fourth foul of the game. She would finish the game with 14 points and seven rebounds, but her presence was missed by her team.

In the fourth quarter, Meredith Polson picked up the slack in Young's absence and her basket with 4:29 remaining cut the Mercy lead to seven points. Taylor Blain's 3-pointer with 2:43 left in the game cut the Jags' lead to 45-39, but that's as close as the Chargers would get.

Faris' fellow senior Juliann Miller joined her in double figures with 12 points. Miller also has six rebounds and four assists. Other key contributors for the Jaguars were senior Emily Goetz (eight points and nine rebounds), junior Courtney Roush (eight points and four rebounds), and sophomore Whitney Hartlage (four steals, three assists, and three rebounds).

The win was Mercy's third straight and sets up a LIT quarterfinal matchup with Marion County (13-4) on Thursday at 4pm.

duPont Manual High School (16-4) 68 Assumption High School (10-9) 55

Following a thrilling come-from-behind victory in its LIT opening round game on Tuesday over Ballard, the Assumption High School squad was gunning for another big victory over one of the top teams in the state on Thursday. And while they hung tough for the majority of the contest, the Rockets did not have enough to pull the upset and was eliminated by the Crimsons 68-55.

Manual converted 25 Assumption turnovers into 38 points and used its superior athleticism to pace the game.

Senior Maggie Hartlage and sophomore Dee Dee Sliter both scored 13 points a piece in the losing effort for the Rockets, who trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half before heading to halftime down 37-20.

Four straight points from Hartlage cut the Manual lead to 40-29 with 5:06 to go in the third quarter, but game MVP Leasia Wright either scored or assisted in the Crimsons' next seven points and helped Manual pull away for good. Wright finished with a game-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. Her partner-in-crime, Mecheal Guess, had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Assumption sophomore Kelsey Kaiser had a near double-double with eight points and eight rebounds in the loss, while another sophomore - Katie Friedrich - put up seven points and five rebounds for the Rockets.

Head Coach Stephanie Greathouse's Assumption team is scheduled to play again on Feb. 1 at home against Fern Creek.

Sacred Heart Academy (15-3) 57 Jeffersontown High School (16-2) 42

Jeffersontown High School was unbeaten against Louisville teams prior to its second round LIT game on Thursday, but ran into one of the best in the state during a 57-42 loss to Sacred Heart Academy. J'town's only previous loss had been to Lexington's Bryan Station (60-47) on Jan. 15.

The Valkyries used a 19-9 run at the end of the second quarter to take a 33-21 halftime lead, but it was senior Monica McGreal who put the game out of reach for J'town. McGreal scored the first 11 points of the second half and helped SHA establish a 44-21 advantage with 5:40 to go in the third quarter.

Jeffersontown eventually chipped away at the lead and cut its deficit to 51-39 with 4:23 remaining on a bucket from Aisjah Roan, but that's as close as the Lady Chargers would get.

McGreal finished with a team-high 19 points and was named the game's MVP. Senior Morgan Clemons had eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and was integral in shutting down J'town center Lenette Holt, who finished the game with a mere six points.

Roan led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting. She also had six rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots in the losing effort.

SHA built its largest lead of the game -24 points - when junior forward Sandy Gahafer's layup made the score 47-23 at the third quarter's 3:02 mark. Valkyries senior Annamarie Campbell also had a solid game with 11 points and seven boards, while the team epitome of hustle, senior Maddie Peabody, filled up the box score with another consistent line: three points, seven steals, five assists and four rebounds.

And while the Valkyries didn't shoot the ball terribly well from the free throw line (67.9 percent), SHA did work hard to produce trips to the line and had nine more converted free throws than J'town did attempts.

The victory for Sacred Heart was the team's fourth in a row and sets up a LIT quarterfinal showdown with Scott County (12-5) at 5:30pm on Thursday at Bellarmine.

For video highlights from both the Mercy and Sacred Heart games, visit the "CSN TV" section on the right side of the site's main page, or visit the LouisvilleCatholicSports.com YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/louisvillecathsports.


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