Mercy's strong defensive effort has Marlins back in the quarterfinals

Author: 
Tom Markowski

Farmington Hills – It took Jackie Bauer over 11 minutes to find her shooting touch.

It took Farmington Hills Mercy three quarters to close out Walled Lake Western.

Bauer’s two 3-pointers during a two-minute stretch of the second quarter keyed an 8-0 run and Mercy held Wester to four points in the second half and defeated the Warriors 35-14 in a Class A region final at North Farmington on Thursday.

Mercy (22-3), making its first quarterfinal appearance since 2014, will play defending state champion Warren Cousino on Tuesday at Southfield for the Arts and Technology at 7 p.m.

Cousino (23-2), ranked No. 2, outlasted Birmingham Marian, Mercy’s Catholic League Central Division rival, 41-39, in overtime on Thursday.

Bauer scored nine points, all on 3-pointers, and Chloe Godbold and Jenna Schluter each added eight to pace No. 8-ranked Mercy.

Kailee Ford had six for Western (20-5).

“It’s been a while,” Bauer said. “I wasn’t on that (2014) team. My sister (Sam) was.

“I really wasn’t shooting well in warmups. It took a while for me to get going.

“Our defense really carried us. We knew (Janara Flowers and Jordan Walczyk) could really shoot the ball so we needed some help on the perimeter. We wanted to create some turnovers and get some easy baskets. We decided to go to a half-court trap in the second half and that bothered them.”

Mercy was 1-of-10 from the field in the first quarter yet led, 5-4. The Marlins led 20-10 at halftime then forced six turnovers in the third quarter and their lead shot up to 32-12.

“(The first quarter) was weird,” Mercy coach Gary Morris said. “We had some good looks. I felt good at the half up 20-10. We started to hit some shots.

“(Half-court trap) has been a good defense for us. We executed it well. The other teams prepare for us. There are no secrets at this time of year. We were solid defensively, which was good to see.”

Freshman center Jess Mruzik gave Mercy solid play in the post as she had seven rebounds and three points. Mercy held a 21-13 edge in rebounds before both teams substituted freely in the fourth quarter.