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Former Merion Mercy hoopsters meet in 1st annual alumni game

Merion >> When construction was complete on Merion Mercy Academy’s new gymnasium in 2017, Golden Bears’ assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach Rick Pergolini started thinking about a way to bring together former players who once donned a Merion Mercy basketball jersey.
On Jan. 13, that vison became a reality when Merion Mercy Academy hosted its 1st annual alumnae game following the varsity contest against visiting West Chester East.
Much to the delight of Pergolini and the Merion Mercy athletic department, 18 alumnae returned to take part in the activities. Included in the group were several sister combinations (Lauren and Meg Andrusko; Brooke, Carly and Rebecca Loonstyn; and Martha and Maida Pennypacker) along with two father-daughter combinations (former Merion Mercy head coach Rob Baxter and his daughter Ashley; and Bo and Lynette Babiarz).
“I have always felt that an alumnae game would be a great ‘reaching back’ point, particularly with the construction of the new gymnasium,” said Pergolini. “Hopefully, we were able to bridge the gap between the old and new alumnae for such a storied program.”
“I thought it was a great that Coach Pergolini initiated,” said Ashley Baxter, who graduated from Merion Mercy Academy 10 years ago and was seeing the new building for the first time. “I don’t remember the new building being discussed, so when I came back I was trying to see if I could connect the old building with the new building. I was also excited to see the grils who played before me as well as the girls who played after me.”
Brooke Loonstyn, who graduated from Merion Mercy Academy last year, added, “It’s really exciting but I think it’s more exciting for the older girls who may not have seen each other for a few years. I graduated last year so it was exciting for me to see everyone.”
Like most events like this, the game finished in a 45-45 tie but that was the lest important part of the day.
“The response afterwards was tremendous,” Pergolini said. “Many players assured us they would return next year.”
Along with Merion Mercy Academy players between 2000-2018 being invited, the school added a finishing touch by inviting back past coaches.

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