Image Courtesy of Merrillville High School Athletics
FORT WAYNE, IN - A sea of purple filled the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum to witness a battle of two power houses. After three very highly contested close games earlier in the day it was time for the battle of the titians. However, Merrillville’s hopes of bringing home a state title vanished with a 99-52 loss to Ben Davis in the class 4A State Championship game on Saturday.
From the opening tip off the Pirates had trouble controlling the potent offence of the Ben Davis Giants which features four D-1 players. Ben Davis used their up tempo, fast break style of play to jump out to a 30-10 first quarter advantage and never looked back.
The Pirates who had enjoyed success all season by suffocating their opponents with a sticky defense, and taking advantage of turnovers suddenly found themselves on that other end. By game’s end the Pirates would commit 32 turnovers.
Bryonna Davis, Merrillville’s senior leader did her best to fight off the Ben Davis defense as she scored eleven of her game high 25 points in the first half. Several times the Pirates attempted to cut into the substantial lead by putting some runs together, however their turnover ratio continued to stymie their offensive performance.
Still down by twenty to start the second half, the Pirates continued to dig themselves a deeper hole as they were out scored 36 to 18 in the third frame.
With the hopes of the entire Region resting on their shoulders, the Merrillville Pirates tried desperately to get back into the game.
Sophomore standout, Raveen Murray, who had a spectacular tournament to this point, never got into the rhythm that had allowed her to be so dominant, scoring nine points.
When the final horn had finally sounded, it was almost a comfort of relief to finally see the end of the brutal attack that had been placed on the Pirates.
Making the trip to the state finals gave Merrillville a chance to make their mark in history; unfortunately the part of history that they made is not what they had in mind. The Ben Davis Giants set the new mark for most points scored at 99, as well as shattering the largest margin of victory which they set back in 2001 with Saturday’s 47 point difference.
The Pirates knew the challenge that they would be facing here, meeting the state’s undefeated number one team.
Congratulations to the Merrillville Lady Pirates on the successful season, and for the ride they gave the Region.