Mercy defeated Southold in overtime 62-58 at McGann-Mercy High School.
In only the second meeting between these two teams, the first being back in December 2017, with Mercy getting the win 50-42, it was a totally different atmosphere. Both squads were ready to give the crowd a great playoff game.
Southold came out shooting, taking a early lead and controlling the pace of the game in both ends. Mercy did settle in, and got a rhythm going, keeping the game even through the first quarter. Second quarter was much of the same, with back and fourth action, keeping the teams 2 to 4 points apart throughout. By half, Mercy had pulled ahead by eight points, taking a 32-24 lead into the locker room.
The second half was the same with a back and forth game, and both teams not budging on defense, keeping the game close, and by the fourth quarter, Southold had begun to chip away at the lead Mercy had. At around the two-minute mark, Southold was down by two points, 55-53. It went up and down the court with neither team scoring until about 35 seconds remaining in the game. Southold got control, drove down and worked time off the shot clock, put up a shot, and tied the game at 55 points. In overtime, Mercy took advantage of a few Southold mistakes, and put seven points up on the board to Southold’s three points and gained control of the ball. Mercy ran out the clock, and extended their playoff run, coming out on top, 62-58.
Allan Zilnicki had 21 points and 17 rebounds for Mercy, Jalen Stilley scored 16 points, and John Venesina also put up 16 points.
Mercy’s next game is Friday, Feb. 16 against Stony Brook School in Stony Brook. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by George Faella