Landmark Christian picked up a pair of key region wins, going on the road Tuesday night and toppling Our Lady of Mercy.
The Lady War Eagles set out to play a tough, physical game, holding off the Bobcats and their star Morgan Jones for a 70-63 overtime victory.
Mercy built up a lead by leaning on their junior phenom Jones, but Landmark kept battling, slicing a double-digit lead down with five straight points from Paige Aronhalt and a putback by Elizabeth Gibbs. As the War Eagles doubled down on Jones, she took the opportunity to create for her teammates, feeding Aneres Haynes and Tiassa Ray for buckets. Jones called her own number, pulling down a rebound and going coast-to-coast to grow the margin, but a Katelyn Lee jumper cut it back to a 30-25 Mercy lead at halftime.
The War Eagles got red hot coming out of the break, Aronhalt hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Julia Allen adding another three as they strung together a 15-3 run to pull ahead. Jones responded with her own 9-2 run, and Haynes muscled her way to a pair of buckets in the paint as the game was tied 44-44 heading into the fourth.
The back-and-forth flow continued in the final frame. Gibbs drove to the hoop for two to put Landmark ahead three, and D’Mya Walker answered with a runner to keep close. Lee sank a jumper to push it back to three with time winding down. Jones stepped up for the Bobcats, draining a long 3-pointer with just three seconds to play to tie the game at 59-59 and send it to overtime.
The Mercy crowd exploded with Jones’s big shot, but the momentum would fade away. After Nikera Maddox rifled a cross-court pass to Haynes that resulted in a three-point play and a Mercy lead to start overtime, Jones would foul out on their first defensive sequence. Landmark pounced on the opportunity, taking the lead on a pair of Kyelin Knowles free throws and never looking back, outscoring the Bobcats 11-1 down the stretch for a 70-63 win.
The Landmark boys shot the lights out from the opening tip until the final buzzer in a 73-35 victory.
Landmark freshman Walker Kessler started the scoring with a nifty turnaround shot, and Robert Chery answered with a putback to tie it at 2-2. The War Eagles followed with a 16-2 run, sparked by two 3-pointers from Micah McAllister and one each from Nathan Orr and Kessler.
Mercy put in the last six points of the corner, including a Chery three-point play and a John Michael Slattery outback to keep within 18-10 after one quarter.
Landmark got hotter in the second, using two treys from Mitchell Riggs and two more from McAllister for a 14-3 run and a 32-13 lead. Kessler hit the War Eagles’ ninth 3-pointer of the half to stretch the lead out to 18 points. Caleb Hurst notched a coast-to-coast bucket for the Bobcats as they trailed 37-20 at the half.
Any time the Bobcats tried to claw back, the War Eagles had an answer. Jason Moran opened the second half with a three for the Bobcats, but McAllister hit another. Chery battled for a pair of buckets in the paint, and Collier Schultz pilfered a pass and went coast-to-coast as they held a handsome 51-30 lead after three.
The War Eagles kept gunning in the fourth quarter, hitting four more 3-pointers as they coasted to a 73-35 win.
Landmark finished the game 14-of-31 on 3-pointers. Micah McAllister led the way with 26 points on 6-of-9 3-point shooting. Mitchell Riggs finished with 14 points. Walker Kessler chipped in 12 points and 17 rebounds.
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