Farmington Hills Mercy's Jackie Bauer proved Tuesday night she has the Midas Touch.
Everything the 5-foot-6 senior guard threw up at the rim seemed to turn to gold as she led the Marlins to a come-from-behind 47-42 win over favorite Hartland in the Class A regional girls basketball semifinal at North Farmington.
Bauer poured in a game-high 20 points, including 11 in the final period as the Marlins fought back from a nine-point third quarter deficit to advance to the regional final beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9 against Walled Lake Northern (19-4), which ousted Novi 48-42. (Game time is 7 p.m. at North Farmington.)
"When you're a senior you never know when it's your last game, you really got to come out hard, give it your all no matter the outcome," Bauer said. "And I was really glad our team really got together, we played together and we really got it together at the end."
Mercy outscored the Kensington Lakes Activities Association champion Eagles (22-2) by a 21-9 margin in the fourth thanks to four triples, including three by Bauer.
"Once you get in a rhythm, you start making one, you're building confidence and keep building confidence," Bauer said. " And then when when they start coming on you, that's when you pass it to a teammate, so you just keep scoring."
Eight of Mercy's 13 made field goals came from beyond the three-point arc.
"I'd like to think we're a pretty good three-point shooting team, but obviously we took that to the extreme in that fourth quarter," Mercy coach Gary Morris said. "I thought it was big."
Mercy's Jenna Schluter (right) dribbles by Hartland defender Lexey Tobel. (Photo: JUNFU HAN | STAFF PHOTOGRPHER)
The Marlins took the lead for keeps, 35-33, on a triple by Bauer followed by another clutch baseline corner 'three' by freshman Jess Mruzik to make it a five-point cushion just 44 seconds later.
Mercy then made 6-of-7 free throws in the final 2:27 clinch the win.
"They just battled, they didn't care who they were playing," Mercy coach Gary Morris said. "I know we were probably considered the underdog. That's fine by us. We're happy to live another day. We're 21-3 and that's pretty good."
Hartland led 17-16 at the half and went up by nine, 32-23, with 2:19 left in the third on a basket by Arianna Knasiak.
"At the half we felt pretty good down one and then they really came out," Morris said. "It seemed like every possession in that third quarter, or close to it, they scored. We were teetering a little bit there. Then I think we kind of locked into a defense there that was really effective. It caused them some problems. And obviously when you hit shots, that helps at any level."
Mercy's half-court trap seemed to create havoc against the Eagles.
Mercy's Chloe Godbold (left) pushes the ball with Hartland's Michelle Moraitis in hot pursuit. (Photo: JUNFU HAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
"I think for us, too, it really built our momentum, got our feet moving," Bauer said. "It kind of built our confidence that we were still in the game, and pressure them, get the ball back and score.
Senior gaurd Chloe Godbold added 10 points, while junior guard Jenny Schluter and Mruzik chipped in with seven and six, respectively.
Hartland's outstanding 6-2 freshman center Whitney Sollum scored 11 points, while University of Detroit Mercy signee Lexey Tobel and junior forward Graysen Cockerham each added nine.
Mercy coaches Dennis Janer (left) and Gary Morris (right) signal in a play from the bench. (Photo: JUNFU HAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
"It's disappointing to end like this, but on the other hand let's give Mercy credit," Hartland coach Don Palmer said. "They're 21-3 and they played (Detroit) King in overtime, so it's a good basketball team. Their schedule is every bit as tough as ours. When that three-ball goes, and it goes that many times, it's devastating. I thought we had a great chance tonight. We just didn't get it done."