Institute of Notre Dame (11-6) vs. Mercy (2-14)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: SECU Arena
What: 50th anniversary The Game
Series: Mercy leads, 30-19
IND: Amber Kappner-Jones, Sr., G; Ja'Lyn Armstrong, Soph., G; Eilish Gately, Jr., G; La'Shyra Williams, Fresh., F; Madison DuBose, Soph., F.
MERCY: Katelin Holt, Sr., F; Kameel Smith, Jr., G; Kayla Jones, Sr., F; Caroline Cummings, Sr., G; Ada Tempert, Fresh., G.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Institute of Notre Dame used its rebounding and quick transition game to beat Mercy, 54-31, in December, but both coaches — IND's Robert DuBose and Mercy's Steve Anderson — say that means nothing when they meet in The Game. The biggest girls game in Baltimore high school sports, The Game draws thousands of screaming fans to SECU Arena. There's so much hoopla surrounding The Game that previous results and records don't really matter. The teams have to play twice this season because both are in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference. While the first game was intense, this game will have a much more electric atmosphere with many more alumnae expected to return for its 50th anniversary. Kappner-Jones, IND's Player of the Game in last year's edition of The Game, will be key again for the Penguins. After sitting out a few games with a knee injury, she returned to contribute strong defense and two late 3-pointers in a 39-33 win over St. John's-Catholic Prep last week. The Penguins, who have won The Game the past two years, will look to push the pace to create offense led by Armstrong (13.6 points per game). The Magic prefers a slower tempo and Anderson said the key for his team will be patience on offense, taking better shots and rebounding to limit the Penguins fastbreak opportunities. Smith leads a balanced Mercy offense with 7.3 points per game.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
No. 1 St. Frances at No. 2 McDonogh, Monday, 6 p.m.
Hereford at No. 14 New Town, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 John Carroll at No. 3 St. Frances, Monday, 7 p.m.
Dunbar at No. 7 Lake Clifton, Tuesday, 5:15 p.m
No. 1 Mount St. Joseph at No. 3 St. Frances, Wednesday, 7 p.m.