March 10th, 2018

Jaguars headed to title game

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Jaguars headed to title game
Taziah Jenks and Hope Sivori look to run the offense / photo by Conor Revell

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Mercy’s basketball team used a strong third quarter and will end their postseason journey at the last possible destination.

The Jaguars used a 17-0 third quarter run and dispatched Boyd County 78-59 in a St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament semifinal game Saturday night at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena.

“Wow, what a ride these young ladies have taken us on,” Mercy head coach Keith Baisch said. “I’ve always said a good coach is always helped by great athletes and players. We definitely have that and I’m very proud of them for that.

“I apologized to Boyd County because the kid (Samantha Cripple) who scored in the last minute was the only kid who hadn’t scored during the state tournament and now everyone has and that’s pretty cool. Everyone wanted that for her because everybody on this team supports each other.”

Mercy (25-9) trailed 35-33 at the half and it was still tied at 45 with 4:33 to go in the third quarter.

Taziah Jenks scored the next seven points as the Jaguars went on a 17-0 run and Boyd County (29-5) never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the way. The final margin was the game largest.

Paige Taylor had two huge three pointers during that run.

The game featured 10 leads changes and eight ties.

Mercy used their size advantage to dominate the glass and grabbed 52 rebounds, 30 more than the Lions, and had 19 second-chance points compared to their opponents two.

“We struggle when teams are physical like that,” Boyd County head coach Pete Fraley said. “We’re not the biggest team in the world and when the other team gets physical we tend to have a lot of problems. It was a physical game tonight.”

The Jaguars shot 26 of 59 (44.1 percent) from the field including 11 of 22 (50 percent) from three-point land and 15 of 23 (65.2 percent) from the charity stripe.

Jenks had another marvelous performance finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds.

“I had a lot of faith in myself,” Jenks said. “I was feeling it.”

The super sophomore added another dynamic to her game and hit 4 of 7 from three-point land.

“All of them have the green light,” Baisch said. “There’s no one on our team that we tell not to shoot. If you’re feeling it, you’ve got the hot hand, then you can keep taking those shots. Hope (Sivori) even said during the game that they’re sagging off and I told her to keep shooting because I believe in her. TT (Jenks) was feeling it tonight and it helps her with the inside and Danielle (Feldkamp).”  

Feldkamp dominated down low with 15 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks.

“I definitely was watching for them,” Feldkamp said. “I had to make sure that I got good position when I was down low. I reversed the ball around a lot and then rebounding was a big deal. They preached to me that I needed to get rebounds so that was one of the things that I focused on. If we missed the shot, I wanted to be there to get the rebound.”

Hope Sivori recorded 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds despite only being 5-foot-5, and dished out four assists.

“We talked about how if we crashed the boards we would get rebounds over them,” Sivori said. “I went in the lane often, jumped, and got the rebound.”

Regan Berger had 11 points, four assists, and two rebounds, but went out in the third quarter with an injury.

Boyd County made 21 of 58 (36.2 percent) from the field including 8 of 32 (25 percent) three pointers and 9 of 13 (69.2 percent) from the free-throw line.

Savannah Wheeler had 22 points, four rebounds, and three steals while Harley Paynter also recorded 22 points. Payton Shears had seven points and four rebounds.

Mercy will play the defending state champion Mercer County in the state championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“We knew Mercer County was the team to beat coming into the tournament,” Baisch said. “They’re the state champions from last year and they’re good and a very talented team. They have multiple weapons and can go inside or outside. Their length is something we’re going to have to deal with.”

The Titans defeated George Rogers Clark 44-27 in the first semifinal game.


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