By Josh Levine
It took an extra 4 minutes of game time, but Mercy High School’s girls basketball team saw its season end in a 45-44 overtime loss to visiting Marin Catholic in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV state playoffs on Wednesday.
Mercy junior guard Christina Haight had a chance to win the game for the sixth-seed Skippers (26-4) with a half-court heave at the buzzer in overtime, but the 11th-seed Wildcats (23-8) held on as Haight’s shot rolled off the rim.
“I was just hoping it went in. It was one of the most important shots I’ve taken,” Haight said. “It was a close one and could have gone either way. After [the loss to] Soquel [Central Coast Section championship game], we were obviously disappointed, but this has been one of the greatest seasons . . . It won’t be the same next year, but new players will have to step up.”
Mercy senior forward Courtney Sabahi led the Skippers with 17 points and fellow senior Mariah Masoli contributed 12 in the losing effort, but it was a clutch shot from Sabahi that sent the game into overtime.
Marin Catholic took a two-point lead with 7.5 seconds left in regulation after sophomore Claire Renk scored on an assist from senior Joanne Zeidan. After a timeout, Mercy took took the ball upcourt and Masoli was fouled by Renk. With just 2.6 seconds left, Haight passed the ball to Sabahi on the inbound play, who quickly hit a turnaround bank shot at the buzzer to send the game in to overtime.
“I’m proud of the girls. I’m not mad with the result,” said Mercy head coach Michael Gutierrez. “We came out with heart. I always ask for them to give me 100 percent effort, 100 percent of the time, and they did.”
After the game, Marin Catholic head coach Rick DeMartini praised his girls for their hard work.
“Even with our leading scorer having an off game, everybody stepped up,” said DeMartini. “This was not a team anyone thought would be in NorCals or even win, but they’re an amazing group of kids that plays hard until the end and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Mercy players and coaches stayed in the locker room for over an hour in their final meeting as a team.
“We always talk about memories,” Gutierrez said. “It was also the last chance for our seniors to speak. Our goal is always Mercy basketball and giving it our all out there. Our four games that we lost were by a combined nine points. Our seniors set such a great example as role models on and off the court for us all year.”
Alexis Tye – 14
Joanne Zeidan – 9
Claire Renk – 8
Emily Easom – 6
Two players tied with 4 points
Courtney Sabahi – 17
Mariah Masoli – 12
Christina Haight – 7
Tallia Schivo – 5
Monique Mariano – 3