January 24th, 2020

Mercy Defeats Arlington in RFO Classic


Ed Peak

Staff Writer

Mercy Defeats Arlington in RFO Classic
Mercy wins 62-50/ photo by Ed Peak

Mercy Academy isn't use to losing streaks. So the Jaguars came into Friday night's game with Arlington, Tennessee in the Raatz Fence/O'Shea's Basketball Classic with some extra incentive.

The Jaguars (13-6) snapped a two game skid with a 62-50 win over Arlington, one of the top teams in Class AAA in the Volunteer State. Senior forward Ta'Ziah Jenks scored 24 points had 10 rebounds and four assist. The West Virginia commit made seven of nine shots from the field and 10 of 12 free throws.


Jenks said Mercy, ranked tied for ninth in the latest Associated Press poll, went back to working on fundamentals this week in practice. "In practice coach (Keith Baisch) was a little harder on us with fundamentals," said Jenks. "If we didn't do it right we'd have to run. We kind of had the mind set if we do something wrong we're going to have to run. We needed to fix it and got it together."


Mercy started slow but once they got rolling they were hard to stop. The Jaguars trailed 13-12 after the first quarter but scored eight straight points to begin the second quarter as Jenks had six of those points. The Tigers went almost four minutes without scoring.


Arlington got back on track to get within 28-25 with 55.9 seconds in the first half. Mercy scored the final four points of the second quarter and the first seven of the third quarter for a 39-25. Jenks had four points and senior guard Hope Sivori had seven of her 20 points in the run.


Jenks had a layup and stole the ball for another layup to start the fourth quarter giving Mercy a 47-32 lead early in the fourth quarter.


"She's (Jenks) a special player," said Baisch. "She is one of the best the school has ever had. I'm tremendously proud of her and how much she has grown up not only as a basketball player, but as a person. Really proud of what she's doing for us."


The Tigers were held to 28 percent shooting from the field (17 of 61) including six of 27 three point baskets for 22.2 percent. Karlee Bates led the Tigers with 10 points.


"Give the kids credit we really stepped it up with our defense," said Baisch. "We really stepped it up practice. That's where it all starts. I'm proud of our kids for buying in to the defensive side of it."


"I thought we played well as a team tonight, said Jenks. "We were passing the ball well bumping cutters. We took good shots overall." 


Mercy, who will play Fremd, Illinois, Saturday at 8:10 p.m., in the ninth of 10 games in the classic, made 20 of 42 shots from the floor for 47.6 percent, out rebounded Arlington 38-34 and had 12 assist.


"We had a lot of grit and held them to one shot for a team that rebounds it so well says something for our team," said Baisch. 


"That's a really good win for us. That was a really good team.

"When you come off two losses we practiced their butt off all week. We had nothing but practice all week. We usually do that where we don't have any games early in the week. We work on all fundamentals, blocking out, passing. Everything. The kids are buying. We just have to keep it going, keep improving."


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