February 26th, 2019

Mercy Advances Defeating PRP 72-55


Ed Peak

Staff Writer

Mercy Advances Defeating PRP 72-55
Mercy defeats PRP 72-55/ photo by Ed Peak

Junior Taziah Jenks and her Mercy Academy teammates had a discussion at halftime. The Jaguars and host Pleasure Ridge Park were tied at halftime of their Sixth Region quarterfinal game, Tuesday night.

"The first quarter, we didn't have much energy," said Jenks. "I had to get my team together and we had a talk. So we had to get our minds right."
They got things right. Jenks scored 27 of her 31 points in the second half and Mercy rolled to a 72-55 win over the Panthers. Jenks made seven of her 14 shots from the field and 10 of 11 free throws in the second half after taking just three shots for two points before halftime. Jenks went to the bench a couple of times in the first half with foul problems.
Mercy (14-14) advances to play Moore, a 71-35 winner over Iroquois at Valley, Friday. 
The Jaguars who lost in the state championship title game last season to Mercer County are hoping they can put together another strong finish.
"It would have been like the biggest upset in history if we hadn't pulled this through," said Jenks. "I had to come out (second half) attacking the basket. At first we weren't attacking. Just going through the motions."
Jenks and her teammates outscored PRP (20-12) in the third quarter 19-5. Jenks scored eight straight points for the Jaguars and a 34-26 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter.
After a Jenks three pointer with 1:52  remaining the lead grew to 43-29 and forced another PRP timeout. 
Regan Berger's basket pushed the lead to 54-38 early in the fourth quarter.
Berger finished with 18 points, 11 in the first half. "I feel like when we have other players in foul trouble someone needs to step up.
"When we have (Jenks) on the court she brings energy with her length and aggressiveness on the boards. She's always getting rebounds and put backs."
Mercy made 30 of 67 shots from the field for 45 percent. That includes four of 21 three point attempts. Jenks finished eight of 17. Berger was six of 16 and made five of eight at the free throw line.
"Jenks is a special player," said Mercy coach Keith Baisch. "She can take over the game defensively. We know she can score and she can rebound. It's definitely better when she's on the floor."
PRP the 21st District champion shot 38 percent from the field. The Panthers had a good first half making 15 of 26 in the first half for 58 percent. Juniors, Mariah Jones with 15 points and Dayja Evans with 13 points led PRP.
The Lady Panthers had one run left in the fourth quarter getting within 64-53 with 2:03 but got no closer.
Mercy's defense held the Panthers to two field goals on eight attempts in the third quarter. The most telling statistic was the 31 turnovers by PRP because of the Mercy defensive pressure.
"That's something we're capable of doing (forcing turnovers). When we come ready to play with our heads on, sometimes it's about effort with purpose. That's what we had in the third quarter. That was effort with purpose."
Mercy turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, but had only four in the second half.
"I played better in the second half," said Jenks. "I was attacking the basket. Getting the ball to my open teammates."
A run at a Sixth Region title is possible if Mercy plays like it did in the third quarter.

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