Mercy girls' basketball team wraps up tourney with rout against Convent

Willie Eashman/Special to The SF ExaminerThe Mercy girls’ basketball team outsized and outplayed Convent of the Sacred Heart

Mercy High School jumped out to a 21-0 lead over Convent of the Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon and never looked back in its dominant 63-28 win in the Urban Shootout championship game at Kezar Pavilion.

Led by senior forward Courtney Sabahi, who finished with a game-high 23 points, the Skippers (9-0) completed the Urban Shootout the same way they started it — dominating opponents with a high-pressure defense and a run-and-gun offense that is the staple of the team.

“Today showed everyone that it’s not just our main players that do all the work,” said Sabahi. “Everyone is an asset to this team and we all work hard out there. Mariah [Masoli] and Monique Mariano kept feeding me the ball and we have such a good connection on and off the floor.”

Masoli shot 50 percent from the field and accompanied that with six steals and five assists. Mariano added eight assists and three points.

“It feels good to be 9-0 and everyone stepped up, not just our starting five,” Masoli said. “I kept feeding the post and we took advantage of [Mariano’s] height down low, especially since we know Convent is a smaller team.”

It was a disheartening loss for the Cubs (3-5), who defeated a tough Branson team on Friday. Branson went on to defeat the Urban Blues in the third-place game 48-29.

“We didn’t take care of the ball today,” Cubs coach Jon Mercado said. “And on top of that, [Sabahi] killed us out there. Our big girl, Erin Hanley, got two early and quick fouls called on her and that kept us completely out of rhythm. She was aggressive because we told her to be, and that falls on us.”

No Cubs player put up double digits, but Hanley led the team with nine points. Mercado credits most of this game to the effort the Skippers posted.

“I tip my hat to them,” Mercado said. “None of them are selfish out there and they are 9-0 for a reason. Right now, we are a young team and we have a lot of positives going for us in the future, so we’ll be fine. But we certainly have a lot of work to do.”

While the tournament championship certainly felt good, Mercy coach Mike Gutierrez saw some room for improvement.

“There’s a reason I coach all 32 minutes of a game. [The West Bay Athletic League] is probably one of the toughest in Northern California,” Gutierrez said. “Our record is great, but it doesn’t mean anything to me.

“We need to continue preparing and learning for league. I was really happy with Masoli today; she has really matured on the court. Also, freshman Nelly Escobar played superwell. She’s the only freshman on the team and she is going to be very good. This was the toughest game she’s played as a player; she was going hard for rebounds and even though she didn’t always get them she was banging hard for them.”

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and www.SanFranPreps.com

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