The storybook season is over for Our Lady of Mercy. The Lady Bobcats couldn’t tame the Paideia Pythons, falling away late in a 63-39 loss Wednesday night.
After earning a first round bye, Mercy awaited Paideia, who was coming off a 37-21 win over Greenforest in round one. The Pythons showed their fangs early, ripping off a 10-0 run en route to a 15-10 lead after one quarter.
Morgan Jones was the sole source of the offense for the Bobcats most of the night, despite being the focus of at least two defenders, and sometimes as many as four, every time she touched the ball. As the Pythons ran, Jones tried to keep her team close on both ends of the court, pulling down rebounds and swatting away shots with 18 first-half points. A block and a coast-to-coast layup got them back within 25-16, but Paideia kept pushing. Eboni Winston chipped in a pair of buckets late as the Cats trailed 33-22 at halftime.
Paideia was powered by their dynamic duo of sophomore Christina Walker and junior Kai Carter. Walker hit a trio of 3-pointers as she piled up 18 points in the first half and 26 for the game. Carter matched up well with Jones, scoring 11 in the first half and 21 on the night.
A Nikera Maddox putback and a Winston floater got Mercy back within single digits at 43-34 heading into the fourth quarter, but it would be as close as they got. Paideia played suffocating defense down the stretch, outscoring the Cats 20-5 in the final frame to pull away for the 63-39 win.
Mercy finishes the year 20-4 overall.
The loss closes the book on the career of Morgan Jones, one of the best basketball players to ever grace the gyms of Fayette. Jones’s 29-point effort was right in line with her season averages of 29.5 points, 15.1 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, and 3 steals a night. The Florida State signee also finishes as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Along with Jones, the Bobcats will say goodbye to the graduating class of Jordan Patten, D’Mya Walker, Maddox, and Winston. They’ll leave some massive shoes to fill, but someone will step up and grab the pen to start writing a whole new chapter.
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