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Mercy Hosts 3rd Annual 'Mercy Heroes' Basketball Game

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For the third straight year, the Mount Mercy Academy girls basketball team wasn't wearing an ordinary uniform, because for the third straight year, the Magic wasn't playing an ordinary game.

Communities from Mount Mercy and Springville-Griffith gathered Saturday (Dec. 6) at Mount Mercy Academy in South Buffalo for the third annual Mercy Heroes basketball game, an event geared toward raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Magic players sported jerseys that read "Duty," "Honor," "Service," and "Country," — four words that head coach John Glose, whose team went on to win 34-19, said symbolize Mount Mercy's purpose for hosting the event.

"We talked to the girls before the game," Glose said. "What they're doing, it means even more because it's going towards something great."
The Wounded Warrior Project, according to the organization's web site, aims to "honor and empower Wounded Warriors." It looks to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, help injured service members aid and assist each other and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

Glose suggested that Mercy (1-0) was just doing its part to help the WWP carry out its mission. In all, more than $2,900 was raised through donations, concessions, a 50/50 drawing and the raffling off of items donated by the Bills, Sabres and Bisons, and baskets donated by members of the Springville and Mercy communities.

"We teach these girls that it's so important to give back, and this is a great example of it," Glose said. "I'm really proud of them for raising so much money. It's outstanding. Anything we can do; every little bit helps."

Springville took part in the event for the second straight year. While the Lady Griffins fell to 1-1 on the season, head coach Bob Gainey agreed with Glose that the event meant a lot more than winning and losing.

"Both communities just came out in droves in support of a great cause," Gainey said. "It's great seeing parents from Springville and parents from South Buffalo really come together and give to an outstanding cause.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the result."

Mercy and Springville weren't the only high schools to have a hand in the event, either. Western New York Maritime Charter School sent students to perform a halftime rifle demonstration.

AT&T, Wegman's, Imperial Pizza and Community Papers of WNY were all sponsors for the event.

The game itself was one the Magic controlled from start to finish. A relentless full-court press employed by Glose's squad gave Springville fits and the Magic forced 19 Lady Griffins turnovers because of it.

Courtney Kaczor had a team-high 10 points to go with four steals and three rebounds for Mercy. Emily Sheehan added eight points, nine rebounds and four assists. Olivia Balys, Emily Gawlak and Maddie O'Neill also found the scoresheet for the Magic.

Springville was led by Heaven Rollek's 10 points and nine boards. Sarah Byrne also had nine boards. Julia Krzemien added four points and Megan Hanrahan and Birittney Luther each chipped in two apiece.

Glose said he was happy with how his squad played in its season opener.

"This is the start of a nice, long journey and we talked a lot about that," he said. "Not everything was perfect, but that's how first games go. We played tough defense, we hustled and I couldn't be happier."

"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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