Girls Basketball: Edelman’s buzzer beater sinks Mercy in WBAL tourney championship

Menlo junior center Drew Edelman (left) boxes out Mercy forward Nia Ilalio on Saturday at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

PALO ALTO – It’s not hard to spot the Menlo School girls basketball team’s biggest advantage.

At 6-foot-4, Menlo junior center Drew Edelman stands 5 inches taller than any Mercy players and that disparity proved fatal for the Skippers on Saturday in the West Bay Athletic League tournament championship game at Castilleja School.

With Mercy clinging to a 52-51 late in the fourth quarter, Edelman followed her own miss at the buzzer to give the Knights a 53-52 win.

Mercy senior forward Courtney Sabahi goes up for a jump shot against Menlo on Saturday at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Knights (17-9) had four scrambling offensive rebounds on the final possession before Edelman’s game-winning layup and outrebounded Mercy 50-28 in the game. Edelman had more rebounds than the whole Mercy team with 29, to go along with a game-high 25 points.

“If you can’t block out on the last sequence like that, you don’t deserve to win,” said Mercy head coach Michael Gutierrez. “We didn’t deserve to win.”

Mercy (24-2) led for the entire second half until Edelman’s final score and had a 46-36 lead 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, but only hit 2-of-12 shots from the floor in the final frame.

The top-seeded Skippers stayed ahead for most of the game despite forwards Courtney Sabahi and Nia Ilalio missing considerable chunks of time due to foul trouble. The pair was tasked with guarding Edelman and struggled to defend her in the low post.

“We didn’t show what Mercy basketball is about,” Gutierrez said. “We had our best players out for half the game.”

Mercy led 25-19 at the half and Edelman had 15 of the Knights’ first-half points.

“We got them in foul trouble early and I gotta hand it to them, their starting players were on the bench and they made a run at us,” said Menlo head coach John Paye.

Sabahi had a team-high 11 points and six rebounds in limited time and standout senior guard Mariah Masoli added 10 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to give Mercy a 52-49 lead.

Even after the heartbreaking loss, Gutierrez downplayed the importance of the game, since the Skippers already clinched the league title with a 9-1 regular-season record.

“It means absolutely nothing in the larger scheme of things,” Gutierrez said. “But you always hate to lose, especially letting someone in your own division know they can beat you.”

The Skippers will likely still be seeded higher in the Central Coast Section Division IV tournament due to two regular-season wins over the Knights, but may not be the top seed after the loss in the championship game.

Scoring Summary

Drew Edelman – 25
Lauren Lete – 12
Maddie Price – 10
Donya Dehnad – 4
Kaelen Dunn – 2

Courtney Sabahi – 11
Mariah Masoli – 10
Monique Mariano – 9
Christina Haight – 6
Tallia Schivo – 6

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  1. JJ says:

    29 rebounds? I thought that was a misprint, but it’s not. What an amazing feat. D1 talent.

  2. GCJ 01 says:

    Mercy might be better than I thought. Edelman is 6-4 (five inches taller than any Mercy player), grabbed 29 rebounds and Menlo barely won. Menlo should’ve put Mercy away long time ago, unless Edelman has no supporting cast. Either way, it’s still impressive that Mercy kept the game close. Good job ladies.

    • JJ says:

      Mercy already beat them 2 times before this game, so I think Menlo beating Mercy is an upset, just like it would’ve been if SHC was able to pull out the win tonite. Hate to use this word, but I think Mercy “choked”. With a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter….you should be able to win that game.

      • GCJ 01 says:

        You may not like using the word, but Mercy did “choke.” With a ten point lead you have to manage the game right. In other words, use the clock to your advantage, call timeouts when Menlo begins to go on a run etc. Not to mention, they probably should’ve defended Edelman better. Plus the 50-28 rebounding edge Menlo had was terrible. Either Mercy didn’t send anyone to the glass or they need improvements on boxing out. Either way, they shot themselves in the foot. Luckily for them, their season isn’t over.

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