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Without Institute of Notre Dame and ‘The Game,’ Mercy girls basketball finds new rivalry vs. Maryvale Prep in ‘The Classic’

A new tradition begins for Mercy basketball with a new opponent and name for the special event.

The Magic will take on rival Maryvale Prep in “The Classic,” which will take place Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Towson University’s SECU Arena.

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The game will replace the school’s longstanding series against the now-defunct Institute of Notre Dame, which was titled “The Game” and became the state’s biggest girls basketball game in its 54 years.

The event began in 1964 when Mercy competed against the old Seton High School in a three-year series at the Civic Center. In 1967, a new rivalry formed between Mercy and IND that lasted 54 years before the latter closed its doors in 2020.

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It was IND which claimed the last victory in “The Game” on Feb. 1 -- a 36-29 win over Mercy at SECU Arena.

Mercy and newcomer Maryvale Prep have competed against each other for more than 50 years in various sports.

The Magic have six players who played in “The Game” in 2020 and six who watched from the stands. Coach Mary Ella Marion is expecting the same kind of anticipation and excitement from the new rivalry as the past tradition brought.

“It is wonderful for our players and school to be part of such a great women’s athletic event,” she said. “As an alum who played in the event, coached in the event and as a parent of a player, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, which is cherished.”

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Added Mary Beth Lennon, president of Mercy and a 1985 graduate: “Mercy is thrilled to partner with Maryvale on ‘The Classic,’ which highlights the excellence of our two schools and highlights how an all-girls environment empowers girls as leaders — on and off the court!” said Mary Beth Lennon, president of Mercy and a 1985 graduate.

Much like the prior showcase, “The Classic” will conclude a week of spirited activities between the schools, including junior varsity and alumnae games, pep rallies and fundraising events.

“Maryvale looks forward to our first game and the unique opportunity it provides for students, players, alumnae, and the community. We are excited to launch a new era of this tradition with Mercy!” said Maryvale Athletic Director Terri Moeser.

Tickets for “The Classic” will go on sale in mid-January. Fans are encouraged to check mercyhighschool.com/athletics/the-classic or maryvale.com/the-classic for updated information.

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