I have only been interning at the Middletown Press for about a month, but I have already began to recognize high school basketball players names and take interest in their season. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I was the only one who has no personal connections to Mercy High School, but wanted them to beat Career Magnet School tonight in the SCC tournament finals at Quinnipiac University.
I wrote a game story about Mercy a couple of weeks ago and got to talk to Maria Weselyj and Jordyn Nappi, two of their top players. I feel like I have a small bond with that team now and secretly was rooting for them tonight.
Mercy had not won the SCC tournament since 2007 and felt like they had a great opportunity to do so this year. They came into the tournament as the #2 seed with Career being #1 after the tie breakers were applied. The teams split the season series with Mercy winning on Dec. 11 64-53 at Career and when the Panthers came to Middletown on Jan. 9, they came away with a 47-40 victory.
Quarterfinals – Saturday, Feb. 16
Mercy 78, Lyman Hall 48
Career 64, Amity 45
Semifinals – Monday, Feb. 18
Mercy 60, Sacred Heart Academy 34
Career 50, Foran 37
Mercy and Career were clearly the top two teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference heading into the finals on Wednesday and even though I could not attend the game due to class, I followed on Twitter through the hashtag #ctgb. @NHRHenryC and @Lidivision were at the game and I retweeted them while listening to my professor teach us what kind of map our next project would be about (cartography class, as I am a geography minor).
Mercy took an early 11-7 lead after one quarter and led 25-22 at halftime. I knew it would be a close game, but Mercy seemed as if they were the better team, at least that’s what the tweets led me to believe.
With 2:38 left in the third quarter, Mercy called a timeout down 34-29. This got me worried and I had a feeling it was over. After three quarters Career led 40-29 and that was it.
There is no shot clock in high school basketball so Career played keep away for the entire fourth quarter coming away with a 48-35 win and their second consecutive SCC tournament championship.
This game raised the question of why is there still no shot clock in high school basketball? Career scored 40 points in three quarters (13.3 average) and then 8 over the final 8 minutes basically running out the clock, forcing Mercy to foul the entire time.
@NHRHenryC: “Believe it or not, with basically the entire quarter to play. career is playing keep away and it’s working Mercy
#ctgb is forced to foul”
@NHRHenryC: “This game was only 3 quarters. The fans didn’t get to see a fourth Smh
#ctgb Career up 46-35″
@NHRHenryC: “Both teams played hard and maybe Career wins anyway but 8 minutes of keep away is straight trash
@NHRHenryC: “Crowd screaming play basketball as Career’s Alston shakes up every Mercy defender that tried to guard her. Even made a girl fall
You can look at this from both sides, there is no shot clock, so Career played to the rules, they got the lead and earned the right to play keep away. On the other side, that is not basketball…
@NHRHenryC: “@haleyarnaoutis they played keep away for over 3 minutes. That’s not basketball, no passing, nothing. Just one person dribbling.”
I know I would have been incredibly frustrated and mad if I was at the game, because I was feeling for the Mercy girls. They had to foul and foul hard, according to @NHRHenryC, they were in the bonus at the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, that’s not basketball. Like he said and I saw the argument other places as well, as long as there is no shot clock in high school basketball, that will always be a strategy and the teams that earns the right to do it, will always do it, especially in win or go home games. Let’s hope this doesn’t have to happen in the state tournament where Mercy has made the finals the past three seasons and are hungry as ever to win a title.