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Titans Seesaw Early in Season

Jared Holt

Herald Staff

North Oldham

The Titans boys basketball team suffered their first loss of the season on the road Thursday night at the hands of the North Oldham Mustangs, 61-50. 

Mercer fell behind early, but kept it close trailing by only five points after the first quarter, 17-12. It was the Titans that out-scored the Mustangs 17-12 in the second quarter as the teams went into halftime tied, 29-all. 

Both offenses cooled off in the third quarter scoring a combined 18 points with North Oldham holding onto a slim two point lead, 39-37.

“We didn’t play a horrible game tonight, but we did leave a lot of points on the floor with missed free throws and lay-ups,” said Mercer Head Coach Brian Britt. “There are a couple of things we could have done better, like controlling the speed of the game, faster defensive rotations and keeping the ball out of the middle of the floor on the defensive side of the ball.”

The one thing the Titans were unable to do is slow down Mustang senior guard David Levitch who scored a game high 31 points. Mercer’s Russell Sims was the game’s second leading scorer with 15 points. 

While both offenses were able to pick up their production in the fourth quarter, Levitch’s hot hand was enough to hold off Mercer, giving North Oldham the win, 61-50. 

Listed below are individual player’s scoring totals: 

Mercer (1-1) — Russell Sims 15, Will Hager 10, Drew Davis 6, Blake Pennington 6, Marcus Warren 6, John Ingram 4, Louis Price 2, Tommy Craig 1.

North Oldham (2-0) — David Levitch 31, Trevor Burton 8, Jordan Yates 6, Austin Zehnder 6, Justin Cundiff 6, Adam Kligeman 2, Cash Cameron 2.

Western Hills

Mercer bounced back getting on the right side of .500 over the weekend in the Farmer’s National Bank 12th Region Showcase defeating Western Hills, 88-59.

The game opened with both team’s offenses scoring at a rapid pace and ended with Mercer holding a slight lead, 21-20. The feverish pace continued into the second quarter with Mercer building their lead to seven points, 46-39. 

“These athletes have come a long way and are begging to get a better understanding of the game,” said Britt. “Their basketball IQ is so much better on the floor, and the more we can teach them the better we will be in the post season.” 

Mercer’s offense scored more than 20 points in three straight quarters each before being held to 16 in the fourth quarter, but it was their defense that helped them secure the win. The Titans held Western Hills to just 6 points in the third quarter and 20 points in the entire second half running away with the game down the stretch and getting the decisive win, 88-59. 

“Right now we are giving up 59 points a game, compared to last year giving up over 70 points a game,” Britt said. “We are a year older, taller, stronger, mentally tougher, and we have great team chemistry with players leading the team.  This combination with this style of play has caused teams to be tired by the middle of the third quarter, which has happened in both of our wins.”

John Ingram’s play at point guard also had a large part in the Titans win. 
He dished out 11 assists, setting the school’s single game record.

“This team has a goal to be, at the worst, 7-2 going into the Holiday Tournament,” said Britt. “These young men are very driven this year and have worked very hard to improve on their individual and team weaknesses.”

The Titans are averaging over 20 more possessions each game compared to last year and turning the ball over 10 fewer times a game which feeds into their up tempo style.

Listed below are individual player’s scoring totals: 

Mercer (2-1) — Russell Sims 18, Jordan Duncan 16, John Ingram 11, Drew Davis 11, Will Hager 8, Blake Pennington 8, Marcus Warren 7, Louis Price 5, Austin Sparrow 2, Kyle Ellis 2.

Western Hills (1-2) — Will Davis 12, Aiesel Reed 11, Robby Fox 9, Kevin Booth 9, Andrew Zing 6, Kasey Wallei 5, Willie Walker 3, Patrick Foley 2, Justin Frost 2.

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