Mercy, Shrine win Catholic girls basketball titles
With few exceptions, the girls side of the Catholic League A-B Division has been shared between two teams for the last 10 years: Farmington Hills Mercy and Birmingham Marian.
On Sunday, Mercy won its first title since 2013-14, with a 45-36 win over Marian in the division’s championship game at Wayne State.
Senior guard Chloe Godbold had 19 points to lead Mercy. Freshman forward Jess Mruzik scored 10.
“We got to this game last year and we lost to Marian. So it feels good to win this one,” Mercy coach Gary Morris said. “I thought we really played well. We competed. I thought we played well defensively. If you play well defensively, it keeps you in the game.”
The game was close most of the way. Mercy and Marian were knotted at 9 after one quarter, before Mercy got out to a 18-17 lead at halftime.
Mercy, which led by no more than five points in the third quarter, had a 34-30 lead and pulled away in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer from Godbold gave Mercy a 37-30 lead with 5:30 left.
The win moves Mercy to 3-0 this season against Marian. On Dec. 9, Mercy eked out a 44-43 win, while on Jan. 17, Mercy edged Marian, 33-30.
“I thought we were better today against their pressure than we were in the first two games and that was big,” Morris said.
Morris said the leadership of Godbold, as well as Mercy’s other seniors, Katie Coe (five points) and Jackie Bauer (three), has been a major part of the team’s success this year.
Marian still has the upper hand, though. It’s won three of the last five A-B titles and six of the last 10.
Mercy plays Detroit King this week in the Operation Friendship game between the champion of the Detroit PSL and the Catholic League, before Class A district play begins against Farmington Hills Harrison.
“That will present a challenge for us,” Morris said of King. “But playing a team like that we hope will help us in the state tournament.”
Senior guard Lauren Montalbano scored 12 for Marian (14-5).
Shrine takes C-D
Royal Oak Shrine won its first Catholic League championship since 1994 with a 52-49 win over Waterford Lakes in the C-D Division final at Wayne State.
Grace Murray scored 27 to lead Shrine (14-4), which trailed 19-9 after one quarter.
After tying the game at 37 after three quarters, Shrine took a three-point lead, but lost it, trailing 47-45 with less than three minutes left.
Shrine recovered, going on a 7-0 run in the next two minutes to seal the win.
Lakes (16-8) plays at Livonia Ladywood (2-15) on Thursday in a Catholic League crossover, while Shrine heads to Southgate Anderson (4-12).
Al Willman is a freelance writer.