February 22nd, 2019

Mercy Falls in 24th District Final

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Mercy Falls in 24th District Final
Bullitt East claimed the 24th District Title/ Photo by Jeff Woods

They may reside in different counties, but Mercy and Bullitt East have developed quite the rivalry on the hardwood. Since Mercy joined the 24th district in 2012, the Jaguars and Chargers have played for the district title every year.

Friday night’s showdown belonged to the Chargers, as Bullitt East led wire to wire in a 62-34 win over Mercy to claim its third district title in four years.

“I felt like we shot the ball well and we rebounded their misses,” said Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings. “The level of competition that Mercy is and other teams in our region, it makes you prepare and makes your kids really focused. And I thought our kids were really focused.”

Bullitt East started the game with back to back three-pointers and hit four from behind the arc in the first quarter to build a 17-11 lead. But it was the second quarter that put the game out of reach for the Jaguars. The Chargers outscored Mercy 20-4 and held the Jags to one field goal in the second quarter. By halftime, Bullitt East enjoyed a commanding 37-15 lead.

“When you don’t put the ball in the hole, you can’t get in the defense you want,” said Mercy head coach Keith Baisch. “That’s something we try to enforce. Don’t let your offense affect your defense. Well, we did that tonight.

“They took it to us. They handed it to us.”

No Bullitt East player scored more than 12 points, but four Chargers reached double-figures. Caroline Scott led the way with 12, Emmy Ralph finished with eleven points, and Emily Ezell and Lexi Taylor both had ten points.

“I thought our defense was good, our rebounding was good, which allowed us to get on the break, and we knocked shots down,” said Stallings. “We really haven’t relied on one kid. I don’t know how many scored for us in the second quarter, but I’d be willing to say seven or eight scored. And that’s the way we are.”

Mercy’s offense improved in the second half, but the deficit was too large to overcome. Junior Taziah Jenks led the Jaguars with a game-high 14 points. Regan Berger tallied nine points.

Like Bullitt East, Mercy advances to the Sixth Region tournament next week. The Jaguars’ path will likely be more difficult because they must play a road game against a district champion in the first round.

“It’s all about the draw for next week as far as who is going to draw in the same side as Butler,” said Baisch. “You also have PRP, which is pretty dangerous as well. The time we won it in 2010, we were a (district) runner-up. You just never know how it’s going to turn out.”

As for the Chargers, they enter the region tournament with momentum following an emphatic win over their district foe and a perennial favorite.

“We know what’s ahead of us,” said Stallings. “We may have to play Mercy again. Butler is there, and PRP is playing really well right now. I think our kids believe in each other and play the game together. Wins like tonight solidify that. So, going in, it’s a big help.”

 

 

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