FERNDALE — There was never any doubt, and compared to the journey to this point, that was a welcome relief.
After a grueling regional round, which included victories against two of the top-ranked teams in Class A, the Farmington Hills Mercy basketball team had a much easier go of it Tuesday night at Ferndale High, cruising past Romulus High 64-27 to earn a spot in Friday afternoon’s semifinal against Birmingham Marian.
“It’s a great win, a great game by our girls,” coach Gary Morris said afterward. “It’s been a great tournament for us so far, and we felt ready coming into this one.”
Mercy wasted little time taking control of the game.
Using a swarming press and an offense that was finishing at the bucket, the Marlins (25-1) jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.
They led 36-18 by halftime, but put things out of reach with a 22-3 run in a third quarter where Romulus had trouble getting the ball past half court.
“I think the games we played last week had a lot to do with how we played here tonight,” Morris said. Mercy beat Grosse Pointe South in the regional semifinal and Detroit Martin Luther King in the final. “To get past those two teams in one week really gave us a lot of confidence.”
“This is awesome,” senior Candice Leatherwood said of the win after scoring 18 points. “It’s been a long time since we made the (semifinals), and the first time for all of us. It’s pretty awesome.”
Taylor Jones also scored 18 in the win, while Allie Gorcyca and Sierra LaGrande had seven each. Sam Bauer added six points.
Mercy, in the semifinals fro the first time since 1991, is set to take on Marian (23-2) in the semifinal at 2:50 from the Breslin Center.
The teams have met three times already this season.
Marian, whose only losses this year are to Mercy, beat Port Huron Northern 43-17 in the other quarterfinal.
The Class A final is set for noon, March 15 at the Breslin Center.
Mike Moore will be in East Lansing to cover the Mercy-Marian semifinal, as well as the Class A final. For complete coverage from the Breslin Center, visit www.candgnews.com and click on the Sport tab.