ERIE — The Titusville Rockets girls basketball team gave the defending District 10 Class 3A champion Mercyhurst Prep Lakers all they could handle in a Region 3 showdown at The Launch Pad back on Jan. 6, in a 45-44 contest that went in favor of the Lakers.
Looking to make a statement, the Lakers avenged the near-defeat Monday night at home, adjacent to the Mercyhurst University campus.
The game opened with a 5-0 run by the Lakers despite the Rockets applying a full-court press out of the gates. The Lakers got 2- and 3-point buckets from Kaitlyn Pasko in the early goings before Amber Scott got the Rockets on the board with a field goal.
The Lakers went back on the offensive at the 5:51 mark, as a foul sent Miranda Bly to the line where she hit both free throws. Titusville broke the run with an Emily Finley three that followed up a bucket by Allisa Bailey of the Lakers.
Titusville went cold offensively until the final minute of the first quarter when Scott cut the Laker advantage to 20-7 with a lay-up.
Emily Thompson and Rebecka Habursky opened the second by adding to the Mercyhurst Prep lead by each connecting for two.
With 6:55 left in the second quarter, Finley delivered a loud block in transition that led to a spot-up three on the Titusville end. After an Anna Ferrick lay-up that put the Lakers up by 16, Finley swatted away another Laker try. That didn’t stop the Lakers onslaught, however, as they powered through the second frame with a 16-0 run between the Finley triple and Braelyn Eldred bucket with 38 seconds left in the half.
Mercyhurst would score once more on a Bailey field goal and the Rockets trailed 42-12 as the halftime buzzer sounded.
To start the third, Finley chipped in yet another rejection on the defensive end.
Mercyhurst Prep then used another run, this time 7-0, to distance themselves further from the Rockets.
Another Finley block, on a transition lay-up attempt with 4:40 left in the third, led to a Titusville score as McGill dropped it in for two.
The Rockets would enjoy an 8-2 run of their own after another Thompson lay-in, as McGill hit for two, followed by a pair of Scott buckets — including a put-back opportunity that put Titusville down 51-20. Scott finished with six points in the third quarter alone, closing Titusville’s scoring at the 1:10 mark with another lay-in.
The fourth quarter featured more dominance on the part of Mercyhurst Prep, though Finley blocked another Laker try and Scott made a cool assist to Abby Patterson who nailed the lay-up in stride. Finley finished with five blocks on the night.
Scott paced the Rockets in scoring with 11 points and also had six rebounds. Finley finished with six total points on two made 3-pointers, both in the first half, and she also contributed three boards. McGill had four points. Eldred and Patterson netted two a piece, while Patterson also had a team-high eight rebounds.
The Rockets fell to 5-14 overall and 1-11 in Region 3 play, while the Lakers improved their overall mark to 16-4 and a perfect 12-0 in region action. With the win, the Lakers clinched at least a share of the Region 3 title. They hold a two-game lead over Northwestern with two games left for both teams.
Titusville is back in action at Conneaut, Ohio on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.