Farmington HillsMarch 10, 2014
Regional title for Mercy basketball is first since 1991
By Mike Moore
Candice Leatherwood drives to the bucket during Mercy’s victory against Grosse Pointe South in the regional semifinal. Two days later the Marlins claimed their first regional title since 1991.
FARMINGTON HILLS — For all its success the past few years, there was still something the girls on the Farmington Hills Mercy basketball team had yet to experience.
Catholic league titles, district titles and 20-win seasons had all been conquered.
But since 1991, a regional crown remained elusive.
“It’s another great accomplishment for this group,” coach Gary Morris said of last week’s Class A regional title. “Seeing how great this regional was probably makes it a little more special. We had to get past some real good teams to do this.”
Avenging a double-overtime loss in last year’s regional final to Detroit Martin Luther King, Mercy claimed this year’s crown with a 58-46 victory, despite trailing by 10 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Mercy pulled within three before the fourth and then outscored King 24-9 in the final eight minutes.
“We went back to pressing them, which we had kind of gotten away from after the early parts of the game,” Morris said. “At the same time, we just didn’t shoot well in the first half. As the game went on, we shot the ball much better. In the fourth quarter, we went to the line a lot and were pretty good there. … It was a great atmosphere. The gym was packed and loud and a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Two days prior, Mercy beat Grosse Pointe South 73-60 in the semifinal.
“We went back to the school, cut down the nets and had a great time,” Morris said of the night of the King win. “This really shows what kind of team we have. Even with a double-digit deficits against a very good team, to come back like we did really shows how these girls never quit.”
Mercy (24-1) was back in action March 11 against Romulus High in a quarterfinal game played after press time.
The winner moves on to the Class A semifinal to face Birmingham Marian or Port Huron Northern in a 2:50 p.m. March 14 state semifinal at the Breslin Center.
The Class A final is set for noon, March 15.