Merryville blocks Delta Charter from advancing in playoffs, ‘They took care of business and we didn’t,’ coach says

Published 10:05 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

FERRIDAY — Merryville surprised Delta Charter by jumping out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter of the LHSAA playoffs Friday night. The Storm was not prepared mentally for the game.

Juvari Singleton sparked a comeback in the second quarter as the Storm outscored the Panthers 19-10 to take a one-point lead into halftime. Delta Charter saw the lead slip away in the second half and lost 62-52.

Senior Amir Cooper led the team with 18 points in scoring in his final game. He was mad about the result after the game.

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“I’m mad at the way myself and the team played,” Cooper said. “We could have played better. We didn’t come ready to play. We overlooked the opponent.”

Singleton put the team on his back in the second quarter and scored eight of his nine points. He drove the paint to the basket, defended with tenacity and was physical.

Cooper said he brought the team’s energy up and allowed Delta Charter to play with tempo. They went into the locker room with momentum for halftime.

“We were shocked by how bad we played in the first quarter,” Cooper said. “We got too relaxed because we were up by one point.”

Merryville outscored the Storm 15-10 in the third quarter, and in the fourth, they began to pull away to close the game. They led by 13 points with a couple of minutes left after a Storm player slammed the basketball into the court out of frustration and called for a technical foul.

At this point, the game had gotten out of reach, head coach Ronald Ellis said. With 30 seconds left his team was still trying to make something happen but it was too late.

“We weren’t focused. They took care of business, and we didn’t,” Ellis said. “Sometimes, you see it before it happens. You try not to be too hard on them. I see it when they aren’t focused in preparations. There wasn’t enough seriousness to me. We came out missing layups and turning the ball over at midcourt. You aren’t ready to play when you are doing that.”