After defeating the Lady Jaguars of East Jessamine (4-2) in their district opener Friday night, 67-31, the Lady Titans picked up their second win in as many nights Saturday, defeating the Lady Cardinals of Nelson County (5-2), 77-62, to remain undefeated at home.
Mercer’s Kandace Gash and Cassidy Martin combined for 20 of the Lady Titans 25 first quarter points. Each had two three pointers, giving their team a 25-13 lead heading into the second quarter. Martin finished with a game high 34 points, hitting five three pointers and going a perfect nine of nine from the free throw line.
“When you can shoot like Cassidy (Martin) can we told our team that we were going to ride her as far as we could and to get her the ball,” said Mercer Head Coach Chris Souder. “I don’t know that I’ve ever had a scorer like that since I’ve been here. Every shot is the same, she can take you off the dribble and now she’s starting to get comfortable with our style. She struggled with that a little earlier this year, so her play is only going to improve.”
Martin’s scoring total is even more impressive considering she and starting point guard Catheryne Claunch both sat the bench for the majority of the second quarter, due to foul trouble.
Even with the absence of their floor general and leading scorer, the Lady Titans were able to extend their lead, 46-29, going into halftime. Free throw shooting had a large part to do with their lead as Mercer hit 12 of their 15 attempts at the charity stripe in the second quarter. The Lady Cards hit just 7 of 13 in the period. Mercer finished the game 24 of 31 from the line.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Lady Titans though. A string of missed three pointers and unforced errors by Mercer allowed Nelson County to pull within nine points, 51-42, with three minutes left in the third quarter. Back to back technical fouls on Nelson County halted the Lady Cardinal’s progress, Mercer led 57-46 going into the final quarter of play.
A Lady Cardinal basket on the opening possession of the fourth quarter cut Mercer’s lead back to single digits, 57-48. Being within striking distance, Nelson County looked to turn over Mercer with full court pressure.