February 14th, 2019

CAL ruins senior night for Mercy

Dalton Pence 

Staff Writer 


CAL ruins senior night for Mercy
CAL defeats Mercy 74-71/ photo by Dalton Pence

On Thursday night, Mercy’s comeback came up short as they fell to Christian Academy. The Lady Centurions never trailed in what would go on to be a 74-71 victory.

“It was all about the first half”, Mercy head coach Keith Baisch said, “we didn’t do the things that we had been working on in practice quite well. Our main focus is boxing out and rebounding; we’ve been getting better at it at practice, but in the first half we didn’t do a really good job of that.”

Turnovers and defense hurt the Jaguars in the first half. Arina Khlopkova converged three and-one lay-ups in the first two quarters, the last two stalling Mercy runs. Late in the second quarter, CAL completed a quick 7-0 run to push the lead to 13, but TaZiah Jenks was able to give Mercy a desperately needed basket. However, Baisch’s squad found themselves down by 13 at intermission.

Mercy forward Paige Taylor opened up the third with a three-pointer and steal which led to a lay-up of her own to pull Mercy within single digits, but CAL would respond with two triples from Jaya McClure.

Mercy trailed by 10 at the end of the third and in good position, with Khlopkova picking up a critical fourth foul.

Jenks came alive in the fourth quarter; the junior forward scored 10 of her 28 in the last period, giving Mercy a much needed spark down the stretch. Her last layup cut the lead to one with 26.8 seconds to play, but missed three-pointers kept the comeback from becoming complete.

On the fourth quarter comeback, Baisch said, “I think it’s a step in the right direction. We haven’t been playing very well right now. We haven’t been playing together. I think tonight was another step.”

Jenks added 11 rebounds to her double-double performance. Taylor (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Regan Berger (10 points) also led the way for Mercy.

Energy and focus concerned Baisch at times tonight, but many sparks came from Taylor. “She played like Paige can”, Baisch said, “that’s the Paige we saw all summer long. She definitely produced tonight and she can do a little bit of everything.”

Khlopkova led the Lady Centurions with 21 points and nine rebounds while McClure and Mia Beam also had 12 and 17 points, respectively. CAL (19-10) will conclude their regular season on Friday on the road at Collins.

Mercy finishes the regular season 12-13 and will turn their focus toward the postseason. They will take on the winner of Whitefield Academy and Jeffersontown in a 24th District semifinal next Wednesday night at Jtown.

“The good thing is it’s a new season”, Baisch said, “we’re 0-0, all that matters now is the game ahead of us. Everything we’ve done in the past is over with; so now, we’ve got to get focused and really get better. The good thing is we’ve been practicing harder, but now we’ve got to start striding out.”

 

CAL: 22   20   18   14- 74

MERCY: 14   15   21   21- 71

 

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