Standing on the court in a nearly empty gym late Friday night, McGann-Mercy coach Mike Clauberg yelled over to Southampton coach Herm Lamison, looking to clarify the Monarchs’ recent record against the Mariners. Eight to zip in favor of Southampton was the consensus.
“Herm gives me the big zero every time I come here,” Clauberg said.
The Monarchs came up short in their latest trip to Southampton, falling 83-79 in the League VII opener for both teams. While the Monarchs didn’t put an end to their recent struggles against the Mariners, they showed this year’s team won’t be a pushover by any stretch.
After winning just one game last year, the Monarchs have plenty of reason to believe this year can end on a much brighter note.
Thanks to an infusion of talent from sophomores Nykel Reese and Asaiah Wilson, the Monarchs have the ability to get up and down the court much more effectively than in years past. They can apply pressure, force turnovers and score in bunches at times.
They needed to do all of that to climb out of a 22-point hole in the third quarter against the Mariners. Southampton led 64-42 with under three minutes left in the third quarter. The game appeared all but over until the Monarchs began chipping away in the fourth quarter, leading to a drawn-out final 1:49 that lasted more than 20 minutes real time.
The final 1:49 featured the Monarchs fouling every chance to stop the clock, while quickly hoisting up shots on offense.
With several clutch shots and some woeful free throw shooting from Southampton, the Monarchs made it a one-possession game with 24 seconds left after senior Danny Hartmann drained a 3-pointer. The Monarchs immediately fouled Scott Ricca, who missed both of his free throw attempts.
With no time-outs remaining, the Monarchs had to go right up court. They got the ball back to Hartmann, who couldn’t get off a clean shot as he tried going up for a 3-pointer with about 12 seconds left. The Mariners regained possession and were fouled. Shaundell Fishburne hit one of two free throws to make it a four-point game.
Reese, a 6-foot-3 forward in his first year playing varsity at Mercy, had a huge day with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks. Wilson didn’t have a great night shooting, but still finished with 15 points.
Hartmann and Patrick Stepnoski both had 14 for Mercy. Donovan Trent led Southampton with 22. Fishburne scored 19.