Having waited 14 seasons since its last Section 5 girls’ basketball title, Our Lady of Mercy wasn’t about to waste a golden opportunity when it reached this year’s Class AA final.
Mercy scored a convincing 57-43 win over Greece Athena in the title game held March 4. The Monarchs join Nazareth Academy (Class B) as Section 5 champs; they led five squads from Catholic high schools in the diocese that made it to their respective Section 5 finals. Settling for runner-up status were the Aquinas Institute boys and girls, as well as the McQuaid Jesuit boys.
And, although Elmira Notre Dame’s boys suffered an upset loss in the Section 4 Class C quarterfinals, the Crusaders still had a noteworthy year with a 17-3 record.
The Monarchs, seeded No. 1 in Class AA, were locked in a close duel most of the way against No. 2 Greece Athena, trailing 26-21 at halftime before taking a 37-35 lead into the final quarter. Mercy held a 20-8 edge the rest of the way for its first sectional crown since 1996. Leading the Monarchs were Mary Kate Tierney with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Kelsey Bullis with 11 points.
Mercy had begun sectionals by winning 75-46 over eighth-seeded Spencerport on Feb. 24 in quarterfinal play as Greta Buerman erupted for 31 points, Tierney added 16 and Katie Strong had 11. The Monarchs then beat No. 5 Canandaigua, 54-39, on Feb. 27 in semifinal action behind 16 points and 16 rebounds from Tierney, 14 points from Sarah Hasenauer and 13 points from Buerman.
The 2009-10 season came to an end in Class AA state-qualifier play on March 8. After holding a seven-point lead with under a minute and a half to go, Mercy allowed Fairport to tie the score at the end of regulation and ultimately pull out a 68-60 victory. Tierney, with 29 points and 19 rebounds, was the only Mercy player to score in double figures.
Mercy posted a 19-3 record for the year.
The Little Irish, seeded No. 2 in Class A2, began the playoffs with a 51-33 quarterfinal win over No. 7 Wayne Central on Feb. 27 as Alex Baron led AQ with 13 points. That was followed by a 59-54 semifinal win over No. 3 Marshall on March 1 as Christian White had 18 points, Jammal Coleman scored 16 and Baron had 15.
AQ’s title bid was halted in the championship game by No. 1 Newark, 53-47, on March 6. The Irish reduced a 10-point halftime deficit to two in the closing minutes before falling just short. Baron and Coleman led AQ with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Aquinas finished its season with a 15-6 record.
A stirring sectional run saw the Little Irish, seeded sixth in Class A, climb all the way to the championship game with a pair of upset victories.
AQ won 59-35 over No. 11 Brighton in prequarterfinal play on Feb. 22 behind 15 points from Emily Brophy. Then came a 63-53 victory over No. 3 Pittsford Mendon in a Feb. 25 quarterfinal thanks to 16 points from Kelly Legg, 15 from Nicole Bini and 11 from Caileen Sennett. AQ next won 64-60 in overtime over No. 2 Newark in a March 1 semifinal behind Bini (22 points), Sennett (12) and Brophy (11).
The Irish owned a four-point lead over top-seeded Greece Arcadia entering the final quarter of the March 4 title game, but could not hold on as they fell 60-55. Bini had 19 points and Legg added 11 as Aquinas finished with a 16-6 record.
The Knights, seeded No. 4 in Class AA2, began sectionals with a 59-51 victory over No. 5 Canandaigua in a Feb. 27 quarterfinal with Jordan Jones scoring 22 points and Tyler Sankes adding 10. That was followed by a 60-57 upset of top-seeded Irondequoit in semifinal play on March 2 as Phil DiPasquale connected on the most talked-about shot in any Section 5 game this year: He popped a three-pointer from past midcourt at the buzzer for the winning basket. Top McQuaid scorers were Brian Parker with 15 points, Jones with 14 and Sankes with 13.
The Knights were halted in the title game on March 6 by No. 3 East, 76-53, despite a monster performance from Parker with 29 points and 17 rebounds. His team used a 22-11 scoring edge in the second quarter to cut its deficit from 22-9 to 33-31, and the Knights still only trailed 49-44 entering the final period before the Orientals held a 27-9 edge over the final eight minutes.
McQuaid finished with a 13-8 record.
Elmira ND boys
The Crusaders carried a 12-game winning streak into sectional play after a 52-44 win over Lansing in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference large-schools title game on Feb. 19. Ethan Monachino (20 points) and Joe Thurber (18) accounted for most of the Crusaders’ offense in that contest.
Notre Dame, seeded No. 3 in the Section 4 Class C tournament, upped its victory run to 13 with a 59-38 decision over No. 14 Bainbridge-Guilford in first-round play on Feb. 23. Monachino led ND with 14 points.
Then came a 54-51 loss at the hands of No. 6 Sidney in quarterfinal action on Feb. 26. Notre Dame almost made a miracle comeback, erasing a 17-point halftime deficit to actually go ahead with two minutes left in the game before falling at the end. Monachino was again ND’s top scorer with 17 points.