Girls Basketball: Mercy ends losing streak against Pinewood to stay undefeated

Mercy senior guard Mariah Masoli eyes the Pinewood defense on Thursday at Mercy High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

On the surface, Mercy High School’s 67-39 win over visiting Pinewood on Thursday appeared to be just another blowout win for the undefeated Skippers this season.

But this one meant just a little bit more.

The win is Mercy’s (18-0, 3-0) first against Pinewood since both teams moved to the West Bay Athletic League’s Foothill Division in the 2008-09 season, but it was also coach Michael Gutierrez’s 200th win with the school.

Mercy sophomore Nia Ilalio (left) jockeys for position in the paint against Pinewood on Thursday at Mercy High School. (Photo by Eric Luis)

“Sure, it’s nice to beat Pinewood, but we have bigger fish to fry,” Gutierrez said. “Our goals are to win our league, which we have a chance to this year, and a [Central Coast Section title]. We’re 18-0 now, and that’s important to this program, but if we lose to Menlo on Tuesday, it doesn’t really matter.”

Mercy was again led by the standout play of guard Mariah Masoli, who simply could not miss in the first quarter. The senior hit all six shots she took from the floor in the quarter and scored 16 points.

“I’m confident in my shot, and after my first two, I had the feeling I was going to make them and I was in the flow of the game,” said Masoli, who finished with a game-high 28 points.

Masoli hit four 3-pointers on five attempts, but took as many shots in the first quarter as she did in the rest of the game.

“For her, those outside shots are like layups,” Gutierrez said. “Even on a fast break, that’s a good shot for her. She’s definitely the best player in the City.”

Masoli’s hot start allowed the Skippers to open up a 22-7 lead after the first quarter and the Panthers (10-8, 0-3) never made a significant dent in the deficit.

The Panthers amped up their defensive pressure after the first quarter to better defend Masoli, an the Skippers responded by going into the paint. Mercy forwards Courtney Sabahi and Nia Ilalio combined to score 24 points and have been one of the most significant advantages for the Skippers this season.

“They’re both talented, and that’s a feature we haven’t had here in 10 years,” Gutierrez said. “We can go outside with Mariah and inside with Courtney and Nia.”

Pinewood relied almost entirely on long-distance shooting to try to cut into the Mercy lead, chucking up 38 3-pointers, but only connected on eight attempts.

“We hit a couple shots, but I think we can shoot way better,” said Pinewood assistant coach Anna Tracy, who was serving as head coach due to the suspension of Doc Scheppler. “We’ve been struggling the last couple of games with 3s, but that’s what we do. They shoot so well in practice, we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop, because they can go off.”

The Panthers are admittedly a different squad from the dominant teams Pinewood has had in recent years, but that didn’t diminish the moment for the Skippers.

“We were trying to win this for our coach and it is especially a good win because it came against Pinewood and because we did it at Mercy,” Masoli said.

Scoring Summary

Mariah Masoli – 28
Nia Ilalio – 14
Courtney Sabahi – 10
Nelly Escobar – 6
Christina Haight – 4

Marissa Hing – 13
Kelly Doran – 8
Monique McDevitt – 6
Gabi Bade – 5
Kendahl Wallis-Lang – 4

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  1. JJ says:

    I used to think Maria Kemiji-McDonald will win SanFranPreps player of the year, but Mariah Masoli should be considered as player of the year also. Her numbers are speaking for itself. She also comes from a very athletic family, so it’s obviously not a fluke.

    • GCJ 01 says:

      You make very great points. Masoli is a great player. However, would Mercy be as good as they are without her? If you put her on another team, let’s say the SI girl’s team, would she stand out, or would she be overshadowed by Kemiji-McDonald? It’s easy to stand out when you’re the best player on the team. It’s harder to do so when you’re surrounded by great players. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll definately be able to hold her own though.

      • Mercymercyme says:

        Mercy has great players this year. They are well balanced, they can all shoot and are aggressive on defense. JB mentioned 2 other players in his article, if you happen to read it.
        IMHO, Weak argument for her being the best player on her team. Same could be said for Maria so your point is moot. You haven’t seen her play, if you did, you’d know that she would def contribute to any team she plays for.

  2. Headline Nazi says:

    Lol at the headline. “ends losing streak to stay undefeated” is ridiculously confusing. You totally can’t tell what happened unless you read the lead.

    • Kezar for Keeps says:

      Did Mercy end a losing streak against Pinewood? Yes. Did Mercy stay undefeated? Yes.

    • GCJ 01 says:

      How in the world can you be confused. It’s not that hard to understand. Again, Kezar for Keeps, thank you for explaining it to those who refuse to use their heads.

      On a side note, Headline, you might want to change your ID name. If you don’t know why, read a history book!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Woohoo! Nice! Keep up the good work!

  4. Mercymercyme says:

    Great job Mercy Skippers! Keep it up!

  5. Fan says:

    I think Masoli definitely should be a top contender for player of the year for sfpreps.

  6. Arthur Chin says:

    @Those of you trying to make something out of this win over PW should take into consideration who Mercy actually played. If you look into the roster’s PW has 5 freshmen, 3 soph, 1 junior(injuried), 2 seniors, and total enrollment is under 200 students. Not to mention their head coach wasn’t even at the game. I’m just guessing but i would say you better keep your eye out for any varsity team that is that young.

    BUT yes you are correct the skipper’s won the game. Good job……….

    • GCJ 01 says:

      Where was PW’s head coach?

      • jbalan says:

        He was suspended for being ejected from the prior game.

      • Mercymercyme says:

        Back @ You Mr Chin, Do you realize players read these posts and comments? Yes, we know Pinewood is down this year, so because of that they’re not supposed to enjoy this win? If you’d bother to read JB’s article you’d understand that The BIG part about this win is the FACT that they hadn’t beaten PW in the last 8 meetings and it’s Coach Mike’s 200th WIN. Can we let them enjoy it without the bashers trying to bash. You don’t fool us with the ‘BUT…good job’at the end of your comment.

        Is there some kind of ‘coverage envy’ going on here? Please lighten up.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Arthur it just seems to me you really can’t see any team getting any positive publicity. You always try to integrate the negative aspect to the conversation and basically say things just to heard! You already mentioned Pinewood has 5 freshmen before, is that only thing you can come up with? Come up with something better next time just keep reposting your prior comments because it’s all the same stuff you keep repeating.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Arthur Chin you need a hug :)

  9. Ruby says:

    Arthur Chin, so if SI had Mercy’s coach they would be undefeated too

  10. Anonymous says:

    Mike G. Is one of the finest high school coaches in the city. He knows how to coach, knows to utilize his talents that he has. Doesn’t give in to pressure from inside or outside the school. Unlike other coaches here in the city he is the most underrated, but have over achieved over the years. And again unlike other coaches he wins when it matters most with the talent and players he has.

  11. Ruby says:

    Arthur Chin do you work for MRC

    • Arthur Chin says:


    • anon says:

      What does that mean Ruby? What does MRC have to do with anything? Guys, try to be good winners here, it doesnt happen every year so enjoy it when it comes.

      • Mercymercyme says:

        I also was wondering why the MRC reference. Don’t folks know that Mariah and Maria play on the same MRC Rebels team? Ruby doesn’t rep all Mercy fans. Most are quite humble and are enjoying the ride. Arthur Chin can’t resist taking diggs. I for one feel sorry for him/her/it.
        And cue….

        • anon says:

          mercymercyme..glad to hear that ruby is not the speaker for Mercy. Folks need to stay humble and keep it fun for the kids. Only a small handful will play beyond HS, and even smaller amount will have an impact for their college teams, so lets keep it fun and memorable for these girls, and for most of them, this will be their last stop in competitive basketball..I dont get this Arthur Chin, I really dont think thats your real name, I think your better off just using Anonymous, you’re giving all Asians a bad name, and you’re probably not even Asian..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Arthur, why did Mercy win by more points than Si did against Pw why don’t you state those facts.

  13. Anonymous8 says:

    Arthur Chin, go get a life.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s be realistic…Pinewood’s roster is built with freshmen! They are rebuilding. Congrats to the Skippers for a disciplined season so far. Now that they are considered one of the best teams in SF, let’s see SI, Terra Nova, SHC, Westmoor and more WCAL teams on this great teams schedule. Especially since Pinewood and Eastside College Prep play those teams. Then we can consider them to be at the top!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow Westmoor huh! Kindly check their ranking in state, section ,and section division! Don’t put Westmoor in the same caliber as the ones you mentioned because they’re not. Geez research first before you post a comment like this!

      • Anonymous says:

        Regardless of Westmoor…it sounds as if you are in agreement that the other teams need to be on there schedule before giving them such a strong ranking. I think SF Preps may need to do research on strength of schedule before ranking teams. Get the facts straight. I saw no argument regarding SI, Terra Nova or SHC.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Westmoor?! You must be a rams fan

    • Anonymous says:

      Mercy SF’s Coach has done a remarkable job with the program. 200 wins is a great accomplishment. I respect the program but try to keep in perspective levels of competition and individual players that set teams apart.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What facts do they need to get straight ? Fact is they are 18-0, fact is they are ranked 90 in the state ahead of SHC and not far behind some other WCAL teams. So my friend, get your facts straight!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet they still have yet to play SHC, SI or for that matter, any WCAL team. Those are the facts. Again Pinewood and Eastside play WCAL teams. My facts are straight. 18 -0 yes, but the strength in schedule, common opponents is questionable.

  17. Anonymous says:

    it was his 250th win

    • jbalan says:

      Not according to him. He said it was his 200th.

      • Jumpah says:

        How long has Mike been coaching at Mercy SF?

        • Crusader 70 says:

          I believe this is his 10th year as the varsity coach. I think he said that in the story.

          • JJ says:

            I don’t know how many years COACH has been there, but it’s more than likely more than 10 years because he has 200 wins, and I doubt he would average 20 wins a season. Mercy isn’t known as a basketball powerhouse. He only mentions 10 years as that he never had an inside-outside feature for the past 10 years.

            • JJ says:

              Ok, I just looked at Mercy’s record the past 7 years on MaxPreps, and Coach Mike does average about 20 wins a season. In fact, he had 28 wins during the 2005-06 season. Pretty impressive. But I’m not sure if this is his 10th year, or his 11th or 12th, as Maxpreps doesn’t go that far back.

              • Anonymous says:

                This is coach’s 10th year as Varsity coach at Mercy. I believe he officiated for 25 years before that, and during that time he also coached Tennis at Mercy and Frosh basketball.

              • Jumpah says:

                25+10=35 years…He is 51? Started reffing @ 16?

  18. Anonymous says:

    They havent played 89 teams in front of them, so what! Obviously JB knows what he is doing. So get you own site if you don’t like it. Why are you so worried about this team? Does it bother you that much? They not playing those teams so give it up.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have an issue with this particular program. I have an issue with doing a top 10 ranking and it not being accurate with head to head competition, common opponents and levels of competition. It could be any team that I make these comments on. I have seen many teams is the past have good records and it not be a rigorous schedule.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Again this SF preps not state or country preps. These are the top team in the city. All different divisions and schedules. Not everyone plays each other. No chance SI playing University or Drew for example. What is it so difficult to understand? The closest you can get is common opponents. It’s just the way it goes.

    • Mercymercyme says:

      Well said!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s clear you don’t understand how the schedules are done. The league schedules are set, but the pre-season games are scheduled by the head coaches. All teams are allowed and do schedule with teams from other leagues, CCS, NCS any where, state etc. So the pre-season schedule is 100% designed by the head coach. This is where the strength of schedule can be managed. And by the way SI can play drew or University and in the past University has played them.

  21. Kezar for Keeps says:

    Arthur Chin, here is the only important FACT: Mercy beat Pinewood by 28 points and it was never close. Everything other than that is a subplot.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Arthur only likes commenting on Mercy only, and I’m not the only one noticing. Tell me Arthur, why the negativity? Does it really make your day trying to pick on a girls school you have repeatedly try to discredit? Why do you gun against them so much? You research any little detail about them, yet you haven’t seen a game. Does it hurt to hear people give them some praise?

  23. Anonymous says:

    He must be a miserable person

  24. Anonymous says:

    We are not talking about the past

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