Jackson Schultz and Landmark held on for the win against a gritty Mercy team. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
Our Lady of Mercy and Landmark Christian staged their own showdown on rivalry weekend with the War Eagles holding off a game Bobcat squad for a 65-58 win.
Landmark came into the game with a sparkling 11-2 record but Mercy gave them everything they could handle. Mercy kept within two points with just over three minutes left to play. The War Eagles had so show some grit late to pick up a big win.
"We've shot the ball really well this year, but I was telling them earlier I was waiting to see if we could win a game where we didn't shoot, if we could tough one out," said Landmark coach Chip McAllister. "We were 12 of 27 from the free throw line. We missed a bunch of threes. But we toughed it out. Somehow we found a way and made some big plays at the end."
McAllister was quick to praise Mercy after the battle and the way they pushed his team to the limit.
"First, I would like to say the Mercy kids played really, really hard. Everytime we come over here, coach (Tony) Caruso has them ready to play," praised McAllister. "They don't back down. Give all the credit to them. I told (Caruso) after the game I think they deserved to win. I think they played harder than we did."
Mercy's coach Tony Caruso had plenty of praise in return for the team from Landmark.
"They're a very good team. They do a great job of pushing the ball and shooting the three," Caruso said. "Their ten man rotation is tough. They can all shoot the ball well. They understand their system. It wears on you."
Caruso had plenty to be proud about from his team's scrappy effort.
"I thought we did a good job defending them, especially in the first half. I'm real pleased with how our guys competed," said Caruso. "We hung in there for a while. We just had a couple minutes where we couldn't score late and that hurt us."
Defense was the name of the game early on as both squads locked down the scoring. Mercy's Albert Wilson finally lit up the scoreboard with the game's first points almost four minutes into the game.
Landmark pulled out to an early lead thanks to the long ball as Stockton McGuire, Zach Allen, and Daniel Sharitz all hit first quarter threes.
Darryl Wanton responded with a three of his own to get the Bobcats going. Anthony Caruso sank one free throw then Chris Hunt pulled in a rebound on the second attempt and put it in at the buzzer to pull Mercy within 14-11 after one quarter.
Mercy kept up the pressure through the second quarter, pulling within 26-24 at halftime on a pair of free throws late by Charlie Feldner. Chib Emefo tied up the game on the first basket of the second half. Mercy pulled ahead 30-28 on a bit of teamwork. Dylan Terrell got the hoop for two and drew a foul. He wouldn't hit the free throw, but Feldner finished it off.
The lead would switch back and forth down the stretch of the third quarter before Landmark surged late for a 47-42 advantage heading into the final frame.
McGuire heated up in the fourth with a pair of clutch trees. His first staked his team to a five point lead that Mercy would soon slice to just one with four minutes left. McGuire nailed another trey to get the offense geared back up.
Landmark got the buckets they needed to hold off the late rally. The capper came on a feed from Graham Burson to Jackson Schultz for a layup with contact. Schultz converted the free throw for a three point play to ice the game at a nine point lead with under a minute to play.
Stockton McGuire led in Landmark in scoring with 13 points, including some huge shots down the stretch. Hunter Hester and Jackson Schultz added 11 and 10 points respectively.
Chris Hunt had a good night in the paint for the Bobcats, picking up 13 points. Albert Wilson added 10.
The Our Lady of Mercy Lady Bobcats turned it on the second half en route to a 47-39 victory over Landmark in the girls game.
A late charge by Mercy made it a 22-22 tie at the half. Landmark would see their last lead soon after at 27-26 before the Bobcats pulled away for the win.
"It's a real good win. We had to work really hard on defense," said Mercy coach Doug Crane. "We lost a tough game at their place the first game of the season by one point. The girls wanted to work really hard and come back. This is a big win for our team."
Mercy got a huge boost late in the first half. Down 22-17, Morgan Towells sank a three pointer. Towells followed that up with a floater at the buzzer for a tie heading into halftime.
Landmark got the second half started well with a three pointer Jillian Price, but the Bobcats soon turned around the score. A Leah Banks turnaround jumper would give the Bobcats the lead at 28-27.
Landmark would make a charge in the fourth, pulling within two on a floater by Leah Harrison and tying it up on a pair of free throws by Joy Stucker.
Towells put Mercy back in front with a drive to the hoop, drawing a foul. Her three point play made it 40-37. She would add a coast to coach layup and a steal and bucket to put the game out of reach.