Our Lady of Mercy, Landmark split rivalry showdown


Christopher Dunn

Two excellent basketball programs showed they deserve to be ranked among Class A’s best in a thrilling Friday night doubleheader. The Landmark Christian boys won a 100-91 shootout, while the Our Lady of Mercy girls pulled away late for a 52-38 victory.

In Class A, the playoff participants are selected via power rankings with the top 16 teams making the postseason. Right now, three of Friday’s four squads would be in (and the fourth is right on the cusp). The teams played every bit like playoff squads with a big and boisterous crowd helping to fuel the action.

Landmark’s boys surged in the second half and held on against a furious Mercy charge in a wild, high-scoring battle. “(Mercy) brings it every time. They’re ready and prepared and play their hearts out against us. (Coach Tony Caruso) does a great job,” said Landmark boys coach Chip McAllister. “We were getting good shots, they just weren’t falling. Our team slogan is ‘let it fly,’ so none of our kids should be afraid to shoot whenever. We knew if we kept fighting, we would start making shots.”

The tip-off of the game might as well have been the firing of the starter’s pistol at a track meet. Each possession had the feel of a fast break as Landmark employed their usual breakneck pace on offense and, on the other end, Mercy cracked the full court press with long passes over the top of the defense.

Cedric Labat opened the scoring for the Bobcats with a three. Chib Emefo added a pair of buckets in the first frame as Mercy built a slim lead. Landmark surged in front, paced early by Zack Allen and his eight first quarter points. Threes from Stockton McGuire and Jack Patterson gave the War Eagles their first lead at 14-12. It grew to a seven point margin before the Bobcats closed strong on another Labat three and scores from George Haynes and Aaron Urshery to narrow the deficit to 22-19 at the end of the quarter.

Emefo tied the game on a trey to start the second quarter, then Josh Hurst started the lead seesaw with a layup. Patterson and Allen both hit from deep as the game hit a 28-28 tie. Mercy pulled back in front, highlighted by a long pass from Anthony Caruso to Hurst for a lay-in.

Mercy was scorching hot to start the second half, ripping off an 11-1 run. Anthony Caruso kicked it off with a steal and coast-to-coast layup. Labat followed with a three and Hurst finished it with a spectacular up-and-under bucket and his own three. Mercy padded their lead a bit on a Charlie Feldner three and a circus shot from Haynes, but Jackson Schultz cut it back down to 68-66 at the buzzer.

Collier Schultz and Labat traded threes and the teams traded the lead early in the fourth. Jackson Schultz pushed the War Eagles to a six point lead with a three point play and free throws off a technical foul. Hurst, Urshery, and Caruso hit threes and Haynes added a three-point play to keep the Bobcats close at 86-83.

Landmark kept up the pressure and stretched their advantage to 93-83 with less than two minutes to play. Caruso did his best to keep the Bobcats in the game, sinking two key free throws and two three-pointers to make it a 96-91 with 17 seconds left.

Our Lady of Mercy had six players in double-digits, led by 18 from Anthony Caruso. He was followed by Josh Hurst (15), Cedric Labat (13), and the trio of George Haynes, Aaron Urshery, and Chib Emefo with 12 each.

Landmark runs their record to a sterling 15-3 overall and 6-1 in the region. Our Lady of Mercy drops to 10-6 and 5-3 in the region.


Introducing the 2015 All-County Boys Basketball team

Christopher Dunn

It’s time to put a bow on basketball season. While one particular boys team grabbed most of the headlines, there was plenty of success to go around.

The All-County First Team is a force to be reckoned with. Jordan Lyons is joined by his teammates Will Washington and Dishon Lowery, along with Sandy Creek’s Elias Harden and Fayette County’s Kenny Lewis. With just one senior in the bunch, we could be seeing most of these faces again next year.

There is still Honorable Mention recognition to hand out.
McIntosh’s honorable mentions are Phil Venson and Braxton Shaw.
Starr’s Mill’s honorable mentions are Eric Sutliff and Adam Goodman.
Fayette County’s honorable mentions are Jamon Bivens and Issac Kellum.
Sandy Creek’s honorable mentions are Javon Jackson and Evan Jester.
Whitewater’s honorable mentions are Phil Garner and Victor Ayuk.
Our Lady of Mercy’s honorable mentions are
Josh Hurst, Anthony Caruso, Aaron Urshery, and Chib Emefo.