On Friday night, Mercy defeated Southwestern at DeSales High School 81-69. The Jaguars move to 9-6 on the season and remain undefeated in the 2019 calendar year.
“It was a physical game”, Mercy Head Coach Keith Baisch said, “it was a game that was very good for us because in order for us to prepare for the end, that’s what we are going to have to go through.”
The Warriors started out with the lead, Alexa Smiddy scored the first five points. Soon they held a 12-5 lead, showing signs of breaking the game open. Then the Mercy offense woke up.
Regan Berger and Hope Sivori hit consecutive three pointers to pull their team within one, and Paige Taylor gave Mercy their first lead (13-12) with 3:54 to play in the opening period.
After Berger hit a three-pointer of her own and TT Jenks added a lay-up, the Jaguars would not look back.
Sivori dropped four passes down to Taylor, threading the needle for four lay-ups from the junior forward. “I’ve always been taught to keep my eyes up”, said Sivori. “That’s (court vision) been one of my biggest focuses during practice.”
Taylor’s ten points in the second quarter extended the lead to nine as Mercy ended the half with a 47-38 advantage. Not to mention, Sivori added yet another half-court buzzer beater to her collection.
“I’ve been hitting half-court shots since I was in sixth grade”, Sivori said, “it just kind of comes naturally to me.”
Southwestern opened up the third with a quick 4-0 run that was halted by Jenks’ pair of lay-ups. The Warriors were able to decrease the lead to four, but Sivori nailed two three-pointers to push Mercy in front by even more. Alexa Breedlove’s lay-up from Jalyn Shorter with two minutes to play in the quarter gave the Jaguars a 12-point lead, their largest of the night.
Just like the previous quarter, Southwestern started the fourth with another quick 4-0 run, only to be stalled by a lay-up from Sivori. Defense stepped up big in the final quarter and Mercy won comfortably, 81-69.
Sivori ended up with 16 points and seven assists, Jenks with 17 points and nine rebounds, Berger with 18 points and nine rebounds, and Alexa Breedlove with 10 points.
“They’re two dominant players (Sivori and Jenks)”, Baisch said, “those two can take over a game at any time. Between Regan, TT, and Hope, at the end of a game, we definitely want the ball in their hands.”
Sometimes, the best plays don’t always show up on the stat sheet; that is often the case for Taylor (16 points, six rebounds) and Shorter (four points, six rebounds).
The Jaguars have had Shorter back for three games after a torn ACL sidelined her all of the past couple months. “Adding Jalyn back to the mix is huge”, Baisch said, “she is just one of those kids who has worked her butt off to get to this point and have this opportunity.”
“You can’t play scared”, Shorter said, “it took me awhile to find my role. My goal for myself is to not let anyone on the court outhustle me.”
Southwestern was led in scoring by Regi Cundiff and Kennedy Harris, who both had 16 points for the Warriors.
“We tell our kids every time it’s all about getting better toward the end”, Baisch said, “we’re doing a lot of good things right now, we just have to keep getting better.”
Mercy will travel to Manual on Tuesday for a big matchup while Southwestern (12-3) will turn around and take on Pulaski County on Saturday.