It was a mixed result for Our Lady of Mercy against the Fellowship Christian Paladins Tuesday night, the girls winning behind a great individual performance and a short-handed boys team falling.
Morgan Jones put on a show in the girls game, leading the Lady Bobcats to victory, 52-41.
“It was ugly, but I’ll take it,” said Mercy coach Kevin Walker “That’s what I love about this team. We’re going to stay together, through thick or thin, and we pulled it out.”
The game featured a duel of two of the state’s top talents with FSU signee Jones battling Colorado signee Cameron Swartz. Jones came out on top, both on the scoreboard and in the scorebook, as she outscored the whole Paladin team, the second straight game where she was outscored the opposition in a win over a top-ten team.
“(Cameron) is Colorado bound and you can tell why,” said Walker. “She’s a scorer and she tries to get her team involved. That was a fun matchup to see them work hard against each other.”
The first half was literally all Jones as she scored every point for Mercy en route to a 31-21 halftime lead. The first Mercy points not scored by Jones came a few minutes into the third when D’Maya Walker made a free throw.
Fellowship found their footing in the third quarter, going on a 12-1 run to take a 33-32 lead midway through the frame. Eboni Winston got the Bobcats back in front with a floater, and, after one more Paladin bucket, a Walker rebound and kick out to Jordan Patten for a jumper kept them ahead to stay.
“We’ve got to find someone else that can put the ball in the basket besides Morgan,” said Walker.
A Patten three-point play staked them to a 43-36 lead heading into the fourth, and the defense locked in to limit the Paladins to five points in the fourth. Carissa Griffin chipped in with a putback, and Jones got to the rim to put the game out of reach. A thunderous block by Jones brought the crowd to their feet and was the final exclamation point in a 52-41 win.
Jones finished the night with 42 points, 18 rebounds, and 8 steals. Walker pulled down 15 rebounds, with Griffin tallying 10 boards and Winston adding 9.
A short-handed boys squad could not make it a sweep, falling 65-40.
Without key contributors, including top scorer Jason Moran, the Bobcats had a tough time keeping pace with the Paladins. Taj Dodson gave his team a 14-13 lead with a drive to the hoop, but Fellowship responded with a 9-0 run to take a 22-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The run continued up to 17-0 before John Wilson swiped the ball and fed it to Conor Dillon who was fouled. Dillon hit one of his free throws to end the streak, and he soon sank a 3-pointer, but Fellowship finished the half with a commanding 36-20 lead.
The Bobcats found more luck from long range in the third as Jerell Smith, Nonso Emefo, and Anthony Angelety each hit a three, but another late run put the game out of reach at 59-32 heading into the fourth.
The defense stepped up in the final quarter as they outscored the Paladins 8-6, but the gap was too great to overcome.
Dodson led the Bobcats with 10 points, followed by Angelety with 9.
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