The duo of junior Meghan Anderson and senior Samantha Shea shouldered the load all season long for Our Lady of Mercy. They continued that trend all the way to the final buzzer in their final game of the season.
St. Joseph by the Sea defeated Our Lady of Mercy, 78-59, on Friday night at Christ the King High School in the CHSAA Class A state semifinals. Anderson finished her night with a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for Our Lady of Mercy. Shea finished with 22 points.
Anderson and Shea had all 13 points for OLMA in the first quarter, scoring seven and six, respectively. The Mustangs fouled far too often in the first, allowing the Vikings to enter the bonus with more than four minutes left in the quarter. This resulted in 10 first quarter free throws for the Vikings.
"It was hard to communicate when they got out in transition at times," Shea said. "Then we’d lose a player and end up committing a foul."
OLMA opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run and took a 23-22 lead. Shea capped off the run with a three-point play after a sweet crossover led to a nice finish at the basket. That lead was short lived as St. Joseph by the Sea closed out the quarter with an 18-6 run to regain control of the game.
"Last game we used our defense to get ahead, we needed to be better on that end today," Anderson said. "We didn’t help enough on defense, and we ended up letting them get too many open shots."
Shea stripped the ball and took it all the way for a basket as the Mustangs cut their deficit to six early in the fourth quarter. OLMA looked poised for another run when Corinne Kassatly stripped the ballhandler on the next possession, but she was blocked at the rim, short-circuiting the rally. The Vikings then went on a 14-3 run to put OLMA away for good.
"We kept working for it," said Anderson, who had 15 points in the second half. "We thought we could pull it off, we fought hard, but our defense hurt us."
Despite a disappointing ending, the Mustangs refused to let this game spoil their view of this season.
"We ended up 20-6, so this was still a great season," Our Lady of Mercy coach Randy Todd said. "We had a great group of girls, who always worked hard."