The No. 7 nationally ranked Mercer County Lady Titans basketball team are looking to have a repeat performance from last year, ending with a state championship and a 31-6 record, going undefeated in region and district play.
Head Coach Chris Souder enters his 19th season at the helm and has five seniors returning on a loaded squad.
The Lady Titans lost three key seniors from last season: Lyric Houston, Alie Burke and Jennifer Merchant. Houston was a starter on the state title team and finished as the second leading scorer all-time at Mercer County, trailing only Seygan Robins. It is safe to say the Lady Titans would not be state champions without the play of Houston. She was a physical player on the perimeter and the post. She was able to get in position for offense and defensive rebounds and could also step out and hit the three. She led the Lady Titans in rebounding with 6 per game. Her contributions are impossible to replace, but the Lady Titans have newcomers and fresh faces on this year’s roster. Alie Burke, despite not starting last year, came off the bench and provided important minutes. Burke could hit the three and stretch the floor for Mercer. Merchant provided senior leadership on an underclassmen-lead team last season. Souder praised Merchant’s unselfishness and knows she will be missed in the locker room and sidelines this season. Souder talked about the tough task of replacing those three seniors.
“Anytime you lose players like that off a state championship team, there is a big void to fill,” said Souder. “We’ll have to do it by committee. Lyric (Houston) was the bruiser on the team, Alie (Burke) was the spark off the bench, and Jennifer (Merchant) was the ultimate teammate.”
Souder knows that his team will have a target on their back and he has prepared his team for it.
“We are going to get everybody’s best shot,” he said. “Whether a team is not ranked or ranked, and our girls understand that.”
With five seniors returning (Seygan Robins, Emmy Souder, Emma Davis, Faith Lake and Lexy Lake), the Lady Titans are in great position for a repeat.
Full roster breakdowns are in this week’s issue.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.