February 1st, 2020

Mercy Falls to Manual in LIT Semifinals

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 

Mercy Falls to Manual in LIT Semifinals
Jaguars fall to Lady Crimsons 61-59/ photo by Dalton Pence

Manual Lady Crimsons continued their magical run in the girls’ LIT with a 61-59 victory over the Mercy Jaguars in the semifinal at Valley high school on Saturday afternoon. They will square up with top-ranked Sacred Heart tomorrow at 1:00 in the championship. 

Down two with under 20 seconds to play, Mercy had a couple of key looks, but ultimately could not level the score. 


“The effort was there”, Mercy head coach Keith Baisch explained. “I wasn’t disappointed in them, but disappointed that we lost. I really saw with the draw we had that we could have a good opportunity to make it to Sunday, but Manual is playing extremely well. They’re young, knocking down shots, and playing with a ton of confidence right now. When you don’t finish on your end of the floor, it makes it tough.”


Mercy trailed by ten early in the fourth quarter, but the Jaguars fought back. Three-pointers from Hope Sivori and Mary Smith cut the lead to three with just over three minutes left, but the reigning sixth region champions could not get over the hump.


“Our intensity and effort were most definitely there”, Baisch said. “We had one little stretch where we didn’t look so good, but overall I’m proud of the kids. When it came down to it, they executed and we didn’t. They made big shots and we didn’t.”


After beating Christian Academy and Elizabethtown earlier in the week, the Lady Crimsons record another impressive win. 


“They’re (Manual) finishing and making shots”, Baisch said. “They’re hitting their three-pointers and they have great rebounders. Manual is a good team that is playing well together; they’re having a lot of fun and it looks like the compliment each other well.”


For Baisch, the rebounding battle was a positive for his team. Manual out-rebounded Mercy, but only by one. The Jaguars had 12 more second-chance points in the contest. 


“We competed with them on the boards”, he explained. “That’s an area where they usually dominate. We did a lot of good things in that regard.”


Ta’Ziah Jenks led Mercy with 26 points and 14 rebounds; the senior also drew ten fouls. Hope Sivori scored 15. The Jaguars return to action on Thursday on the road at Anderson County. 


Kennedy Lee recorded 20 rebounds to go along with eight points, while Jakayla Thompson (10), Sydne Tolbert (13), and Jeanay Riley (12) all scored in double figures for Manual. 


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