NEW HAVEN — We are a little more than two weeks into the girls basketball season, but things are already starting to shake out in the Southern Connecticut Conference.
And from the look of things, everyone will be chasing Mercy. The Tigers have already defeated Hand on the road and handed Career a 53-34 loss Wednesday at a neutral site, Wilbur Cross. The game was a part of the third annual Saulsbury Invitational.
“They are talented, they are big, they are very, very good,” Career coach Steve Bethke said. “Defensively, they take up so much space, it’s so hard to get good looks against them. They shoot the ball well. We lost to a heckuva team tonight. If there is a better team in the state, I don’t know who it is this year.”
Bella Santoro led the way with 20 points, including 15 in the first half. Kameryn King added eight points for the undefeated Tigers (5-0)
Mercy coach Tim Kohs wouldn’t concede his Tigers are the best in the league. “If they are all chasing us, we may be six inches ahead of them,” he said.
His concern is about getting better every game on the way to a successful postseason. He didn’t feel Wednesday’s win did anything to help in that regard.
“We play differently with (the) lead,” Kohs said. “The first half was better played than the second half. We have a have a hard time playing four quarters of good basketball. … This is a wasted opportunity when you don’t play a crisp four quarters.”
Mercy blew open a tight game early in the second quarter with a 18-3 run to essentially put the game away.
“I think the separator with them is they are big and good and we’re not the biggest team in the world,” Bethke said. “They are the real deal.”
Said Kohs: “I think we are a talented team that has to play very well. We will win a lot of games, but we need to take the opportunity to get better. Career will give us everything we can handle next time.”
Mercy and East Haven, the only other undefeated team in the SCC, do not play each other during the regular season.
Ky’Jae Hargrove was the only player for the Panthers (3-2) in double figures against Mercy with 14 points.
Mercy 53, Career 34
(at New Haven)
MERCY<WL>16 18 11 8—53
CAREER<WL>8 8 5 13—34
Bella Santoro 6 8-9 20, Kameryn King 1 606 8, Lexi Leon 2 0-0 6, Samantha Chapps 2 0-0 4, Meghan Daville 3 0-2 6, Jessica Carroll 1 2-2 4. Totals: 21 12-23 56.
Ky’Jae Hargrove 5 4-6 14, Kayla Franklin 2 3-8 8, Carmen Rosemond 2 2-4 7, Ciara Little 1 0-0 2, Kayla Emery 1 1-1 3, Arkayse Booker 0 0-1 0, Nicole Bauman 2 0-0 5. Totals: 17 16-19 53.
3-pointers: Mercy 3 (Leon 2, Bauman); Career 2 (Franklin, Rosemond)
Fouled out: Carroll, Finkeldey.