February 18th, 2011

Mercy Academy Rolls Past Central 71-37

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

Mercy Academy Rolls Past Central 71-37
photo by Brad Knoop

Jaguars primed to defend state title                 

Second ranked Mercy responded from Tuesday’s loss to Marion County by pouncing on Central Thursday night. The Jaguars raced out to a 10-2 lead, gave up only 13 points in the entire first half and roared to a 71-37 win over the Yellow Jackets at the Hive in downtown Louisville. 

The Jaguars (21-6) were predators on defense, causing the Yellow Jackets to cough the ball up nine times in the first half. Many of those steals turned into points. The Jaguars like to get out on the break and attack and Mercy had Central on its heels and out of breath early.   

Senior Juliann Miller hit sophomore Whitney Hartlage following a steal to put Mercy ahead 7-2. The sharp-shooting Hartlage had the range in this game, hitting two three-pointers in the first quarter, racking up 12 points. 

In the second quarter, junior Christine Roush pushed the lead to 18, scoring inside on a nice dish from senior Lauren Faris. Christine scored 17 points. 

To give you an idea how quickly the Jaguars can score, it took less than three seconds for Mercy’s Miller to knock down a lay-up after Central scored on the other end. Miller finished with nine points. 

The first half ended in the hands of a hot Hartlage.  She swished four three-pointers in the half and also hit senior Emily Goetz with a nice pass during an offensive set. Mercy’s halftime advantage was 42-13. 

Mercy coach Mark Evans wanted his team to come out with more relentless pressure in the second half despite the large lead. They did.   

Christine Roush hit the boards for a rebound bucket and foul. Hartlage raced on a fast break, then threw a heads-up head-fake causing the Central defender to fly in the air past Hartlage. That basket gave Mercy a 53-19 advantage. Hartlage led all scorers with 20 points. 

Evans was able to use his entire roster in the game. In the fourth quarter, sophomore Victoria Dircksen scored in transition. She had seven points. 

Sophomore MacKenzie Stilger scored a basket and got fouled off of another forced turnover. 

Sophomore Kayla Richardson tossed a sweet behind-the-back pass that led to free throws for sophomore Caroline Keck. 

“I wanted us to come in here and look sharp and take care of the ball. I wanted our starters to be ready.  I wanted to see where we are mentally,” coach Mark Evans said. “Then I wanted to get them back in the second half to finish a second half, finish off a game. They did that.  It was a good night.”


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