Meghan Andersen of Our Lady of Mercy charges around Emma...

Meghan Andersen of Our Lady of Mercy charges around Emma Toner of St. Anthony's to the net during the CHSAA girls basketball state qualifying game on Thursday at Hofstra. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Meghan Andersen is a natural playmaker. At times, her preference is to be the orchestrator of the offense and get teammates involved. But in the fourth quarter with her team facing elimination, Andersen knew she had to put the ball in the basket.

"I love being able to create opportunities for my teammates," Andersen said. "But that game was closer than we’d like it to be. So I knew that was the time to take over the game."

She certainly did. Andersen scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead Our Lady of Mercy to a 59-38 victory over St. Anthony’s in a girls basketball state CHSAA ‘A’ qualifier at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex Thursday. Our Lady of Mercy outscored St. Anthony’s 19-8 in the fourth quarter.

"She’s just a special kid all around," coach Randy Todd said. "You don’t really have to coach her. She just knows what to do and she’s not a kid that wants all the accolades. She’s a great teammate, great leader and she’s just a great kid."

Our Lady of Mercy (19-5) will host Sacred Heart (11-6) at 5 p.m. Monday. The winner advances to the state CHSAA ‘A’ semifinals at Christ the King March 11. St. Anthony’s finishes 10-16.

The Mustangs suffered a 54-46 loss to Sacred Heart in the CHSAA semifinals Sunday after defeating Sacred Heart twice in the regular season. That put Our Lady of Mercy in the ‘A’ bracket without much time to feel sorry about themselves for the previous loss.

"It was difficult, I still haven’t had the courage to look at the game yet," Todd said. "But we had faith in them. They are a good team, they can do a lot of good things and they did that today."

"It was tough because there were definitely things we knew we should have done in that game that didn’t go the way we wanted to," Andersen said. "But the second we got back into the classroom with our coaches, they said, ‘Keep your heads up. We still have more work. We’re not done yet.’"

Brooke Vetter had 13 points and Sammy Shea added nine for Our Lady of Mercy. Alexis Mitas led St. Anthony’s with 12 points.

With new life after the semifinals loss, Our Lady of Mercy is looking to take its season as far as possible, with hopes of playing in the state CHSAA ‘A’ final at Hofstra March 13.

"We were given a second chance with this game," Andersen said. "You don't always get that second chance."

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