By Josh Levine
Mercy High School forwards Courtney Sabahi and Nia Ilalio combined for 37 points and held standout Menlo center Drew Edelman to 19 points in the Skippers’ 70-57 victory over the visiting Knights on Friday night.
With the win, the Skippers (20-1, 6-1) clinched at least a share of the Foothill Division regular-season championship in the West Bay Athletic League.
“Honestly, we don’t match up well with them. They have a center who is very tall and we have two post players who are quicker,” said Mercy head coach Michael Gutierrez. “And [Edelman] is a very good player, so we have to do funky things to stop her. We had four defenses planned today, all set to wear them down.”
Most of the Menlo offense ran through Edelman, who led the Knights (13-8, 4-4) in scoring, but had to fight through constant double teams. Mercy guards Monique Mariano and Christina Haight often came on double teams to try and force the ball out of Edelman’s hands.
The Skippers went into halftime down 34-31, but outscored Menlo 22-9 in the third quarter and held the Knights to 23 points in the second half.
“Give credit to my assistant coach, Ashley Dolezal. She came up with our second-half defense that let us deny Edelman the ball and still guard their shooters,” Gutierrez said. “That made the difference in the game. That, and the three charges my girls took. They weren’t afraid to take them.”
Turnovers and missed shots plagued the Knights in the second half, and Menlo had as many turnovers as points the third quarter.
“That was the game there,” said Menlo head coach John Payne. “And give the credit to Mercy. They played at a quicker pace and our passing that quarter wasn’t crisp. The game was really fast paced and exciting, but they beat us in the second half.”
Mariah Masoli was the only Mercy player other than Sabahi and Ilalio to score in double figures, finishing with 15 points and six assists.
Gutierrez credited his team’s defensive output to Sabahi and Haight.
“Sabahi sacrificed her stats today for the win,” Gutierrez said. “Christina had 10 rebound and blocked five shots, including that big one in the corner. We made our mistakes out there, but we hustled. All I can ask of them is 100 percent maximum effort. I’d say this is the best 32 minutes of basketball we have played all year.”
Nia Ilalio – 20
Courtney Sabahi – 17
Mariah Masoli – 15
Christina Haight – 9
Nicole Hernandez – 5
Drew Edelman – 19
Lauren Lete – 16
Donya Dehnad – 8
Kaelen Dunn – 6
Maddie Price – 6