Making her final appearance in “The Classic,” Mercy senior forward McKenna Carroll had one mission in mind Friday evening at Towson University’s SECU arena.
“I already told my teammates, I said, `Y’all I’m really trying to get this MVP,” Carroll said. “It’s my last year, my last Classic.”
Carroll, who produced 12 points in the contest, made good on her promise, earning Most Valuable Player award honors for the No. 6 Magic in a commanding 77-40 victory over Maryvale Prep, in front of an estimated audience of 2,000.
She collected the 500th rebound of her Magic career to boot during the first half of the longtime late January contest, which origins date back to 1964 when Mercy and the former Seton High started the special event that continued with a 54-year run with now-defunct Institute of Notre Dame, which was called “The Game.”
Mercy and Maryvale united to start “The Classic” last year.
“I’m just really happy,” McKenna said. “I was working for it the whole game. I’m going to be really sad, this is my last time playing in front of this many people, but it was fun while it lasted.”
The contest, which was largely one-sided after a high-scoring first quarter from both sides, was played in front of a pair of boisterous student sections that filled opposite ends of SECU Arena. Performances from both school’s pep squads highlighted the halftime festivities.
“This was so exciting,” said Mercy senior guard Olivia Liszt, who poured in 13 points. “We were so excited to come here and play tonight. Our school has our back. We were really ready to play for them, and their cheering helped us throughout the whole game. This is my third time playing and this is by far the best crowd that we’ve had. It was so fun to play here.”
Making things more festive for the Magic (11-was a smothering third-quarter performance that saw Mercy limit the Lions (4-11) to just three points, a 3-pointer by Amari Moore (nine points) with about a minute left in the quarter to turn a 38-26 halftime lead into a 56-29 advantage.
“We had trouble locating men playing in our full court man (defense) early, and we talked about it defensively at halftime,” Mercy coach George Panageotou said. “We did a much better job in the second half. This is great. Packed house. Very loud atmosphere. Great emotion. It’s a coach’s and player’s dream.”
Despite the loss, Maryvale’s Sophie Kelly took away some pleasant memories as well as some hardware. The junior guard was named her squad’s most valuable player after producing a team-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
“This is my first time playing in an environment like this,” Kelly said. “The crowd really just hypes you up. Even if you score one shot, it makes you keep going, the adrenaline. It’s crazy. I loved it.”
at Towson University
NO. 6 MERCY 77, MARYVALE 40
Maryvale - Brielle Urban 2, Amari Moore 9, Sophie Kelly 14, Abby Marquette 4, Cayden Reese 2, Megan Droney 6, Nola McCormick 3. Totals: 9 16-18 40.
Mercy - Olivia Liszt 13, Anabelle Hafner 7, McKenna Carroll 12, Myah Hazelton 10, Lila Stachowski 2, Milan Brown 14, Lauren Panageotou 9, Sami Betley 4, Logan Jefferson 6. Totals: 29 15-21 77.
Maryvale 15 11 3 11 - 40
Mercy 26 12 18 21 - 77