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LOUISVILLE — It was like South Oldham had its wheels stuck in the mud.
The Lady Dragons put their foot on the gas and would move a little bit, then they’d shift to reverse and try again, but get advance the same amount out of the rut.
Try as it might, SOHS couldn’t catch up from an early deficit, falling to Mercy 59-43 in the quarterfinals of the Louisville Invitational Tournament at Bellarmine University. The Lady Dragons received a bye to the quarterfinals.
“If we would’ve made some better decisions when we were making those runs, I think we would’ve gotten our intensity up,” senior guard Jasmine Whitfield said. “But we’ll learn from it, especially considering we haven’t been playing on a stage like this, which other teams like Mercy have been used to.”
Whitfield’s 19 points and 11 rebounds kept SOHS in the game, but couldn’t get the Lady Dragons out of the rut.
The Jaguars scored the game’s first six points and took a 28-17 lead into halftime. Throughout the third quarter, SOHS trimmed the deficit to as few as nine points, but also trailed by as much as 13.
Mercy’s height proved to be tough to handle. On back to back possessions early in the third quarter, the Jaguars had three and two offensive rebounds. Both ended in fouls by the Lady Dragons and 4 of 4 free throws by Mercy.
“It was really tough to rebound because for being so tall and lanky, they’re surprisingly strong,” SOHS senior guard Maddie Wright said. “It was hard to get inside and push them out of the box that we operate in near the basket.”
The Lady Dragons went on a 6-1 run to close the gap to 51-43 with 3:18 remaining, but went scoreless the rest of the game, as the Jaguars finished on an 8-0 run themselves.
Senior forward Christine Roush had 19 points, including 13 of 14 from the free throw line, while her twin sister Courtney Roush and junior guard Whitney Hartlage had 10 points apiece.
SOHS sophomore center Emma Sedoris had 8 points, while Wright added 7.
The Lady Dragons’ coach, Frank Wright, said Mercy is the best team SOHS has faced this season.
“That was the first time we’ve really lost a game where somebody outplayed us,” he said. “They surgically cut us up and created situations where we had to foul ‘em.
“We want to be in a better environment, bigger environment and bigger stage. If we do a few things different, knock down one shot here and there, we just could never seize that moment.”
The motor is still idling for the Lady Dragons, but they have a ways to go to get out of the mud.
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