GIRLS HOOPS: Super Saturday: Lady Dragons top Mercyhurst Prep for first time since 2001

Lisa Ruhlman couldn’t find the words for a few minutes after Saturday’s overtime win over Mercyhurst Prep.

“They raised the bar, no doubt, with this win,” said the Warren girls basketball coach of the Dragons’ 61-48 Region 6 win over the Lakers at Warren Area High School.

Both teams are fighting for District 10 Class AAA playoff positioning – with Warren 13-4 overall and 5-2 in the region, and Mercyhurst Prep 12-4 and 5-2.

This win is even more special given the fact Warren had lost 18 straight to the Lakers dating back to 2001, and nine straight since Ruhlman has been head coach.

“We’ve been pushing ever since I took over to get those program wins,” said Ruhlman. “And they did it.

“I guess the best way to put it: in years past, our goal was to compete (against Mercyhurst Prep),” she said. “We competed, we competed, we competed. This year was a year we said it’s not enough to just compete.”

Earlier this season in Erie, Warren was trailing Mercyhurst Prep by one point at halftime before the Dragons turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the second half and eventually lost by 10.

Ruhlman thinks the Dragons left thinking, “‘Coach is right, we can win this game.’ They worked hard and wanted it.”

The Dragons were clutch in this one, from the senior leadership of Jaimie Eaton and Taylor Mineweaser to the season-high scoring of Alexa Bupp – who missed the first meeting due to injury, to the defensive play of freshmen D.J. Hahn and Paige Wilson, and the bench play.

Bupp scored six of Warren’s first 12 points, and Eaton five of the last seven, in a 21-16 first quarter. Bupp’s 3-pointer gave Warren a 33-29 halftime lead.

But after going up 37-32 in the third quarter, the Lakers started to chip away at the lead, eventually taking a 40-39 lead with 30 seconds left in the quarter.

A nice underneath move by Hahn gave Warren the early fourth-quarter lead at 41-40, and the fight was on.

Trailing 44-42, Mineweaser hit the first of her two key 3-pointers to put Warren up again, but senior leader Brenna Robbins responded. Robbins sank a 3-pointer with two minutes left in the game for a 47-45 Mercyhurst lead.

Warren slipped through a change-up to zone defense, and Hahn sank a shot to tie the score, and Mercyhurst held for one last possession.

Warren held, and then took control in overtime – outscoring the Lakers 14-1.

Mineweaser hit another 3-pointer, then Bupp a bucket, then Eaton a three-point play off a steal, and Warren quickly led 55-48.

Eaton finished 7-of-7 from the line in overtime to put the game away.

Bupp, who finished with 19 points, grabbed the ball and the buzzer and celebrated with her teammates.

“I love to see the emotion on their faces,” said Ruhlman. “It’s definitely a confidence-builder, especially to do it the way they did in overtime, and to realize they are capable.”

Eaton finished with 16 points and five assists, Mineweaser nine points and nine rebounds, Hahn 10 points, and Wilson 10 rebounds.

Warren hosts Corry on Tuesday.

MERCYHURST PREP (48): Robbins 4 0-0 10, Chrzanowski 5 0-0 10, Popoff 3 0-2 6, Steiner 1 2-4 4, Wright 4 1-2 11, Woll 3 1-2 7. Totals 20 4-10 48.

WARREN (61): Jaimie Eaton 3 9-9 16, D.J. Hahn 4 2-2 10, Alexa Bupp 9 0-0 19, Taylor Mineweaser 3 1-2 9, Meghan Loutzenhiser 0 0-0 0, Kari Santo 0 0-0 0, Brittni Merenick 0 1-2 1, Paige Wilson 2 2-4 6. Totals 21 15-19 61.

Mercyhurst Prep 16 13 11 7 1 – 48

Warren 21 12 6 8 14 – 61

3-pointers: M-Robbins 2, Wright 2; W-Eaton, Bupp, Mineweaser 2.

Junior varsity game

MERCYHURST PREP (49): Watkins 1 3-4 6, Corritore 1 7-10 9, Simpson 1 0-0 2, Khouri 2 0-0 4, Hoffman 1 0-0 2, Kubaney 6 1-2 13, Rebich 0 0-1 0, Lutterbaugh 1 0-0 2, Kinecki 5 1-1 11. Totals 18 12-18 49.

WARREN (15): Ashlee McClure 1 0-0 2, Allie Sedon 0 0-0 0, Megan Smoulder 0 1-3 1, Katlyn Adams 0 0-0 0, Nerissa McIntyre 2 0-0 6, Meghan Loutzenhiser 0 2-5 2, Amy Castagnino 0 0-0 0, Brittany Massa 1 0-0 2, Lizzy Marsh 1 0-0 2. Totals 5 3-9 15.

Mercyhurst Prep 13 16 9 11 – 49

Warren 3 4 5 3 – 15

3-pointers: M-Watkins; W-McIntyre 2.