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Big 3 for Titans lead victory over Lakers

Mercer def. Russell 61-45

Mercer County senior Carter Baughman was awarded his 1,000 point ball in a win over Russell County on Monday, Feb. 4. (Photo by Sam Warren)

Sam Warren
Herald Staff

The Mercer County Titans (15-8) earned their sixth victory in a row, in a  61-45 victory over Russell County (6-20) on Monday, Feb. 4.

The big three consisting of senior Carter Baughman,  to go along with juniors Kaelin Drakeford and Jamisen Lewis powered the Titans to victory over the visiting Lakers.

Drakeford had a big night for the Titans. He racked up an impressive 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists through three quarters.

“He’s got his legs back underneath him, and he is playing really good on the glass, he’s shooting really well, he’s almost averaging a double-double for us, but he still needs to work on his free throws. He is one of those kids that you’re glad he’s on your team, and I’m glad I have him for another year, ” said Head Coach Josh Hamlin.

Baughman tallied 10 points, fives assists and four rebounds to add to his stellar season.

Lewis contributed 24 points, four rebounds and two assists.

If the Titans have state tournament aspirations, those three will have to lead the way.

The Titans big man rotation is very unique, and each player Hamlin utilizes has very unique talents. Senior Isaiah Smith, senior Luke Dean, junior Trey Price, junior Bryson Yeast and senior Jamasen Sherrow all split minutes for the Titans, and coach Hamlin knows they all bring something different to the team.

“Our starting lineup this year has been a revolving door. We’re really heavy at that position and they all do different things, but Isaiah (Smith) has kind of cemented himself as that fourth starter,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin had high praise for Sherrow.

“I wish I could have a Jamasen Sherrow every year I coached. He’s a kid of high character, a kid who busts his tail and he treats every practice like it’s game seven of the NBA finals. I have no issue putting him in at the biggest of moments. I have full confidence in him,” he said.

Hamlin also talked about how much better his team is when Price plays to the level he is capable of.

“Trey Price is our X-factor. He is one of those kids that’s super athletic, he can score from the inside, score from the outside, rebound, and can handle the basketball. He has been battling all year with confidence,” said Hamlin. “Once he realizes how good he can be and is going to be, you know the sky is the limit for him. He’s going to be really, really good.”

Another senior who has had a breakout season is Dean. His size and length provides matchup problems and when he gets that corner three going, the Titans are hard to stop.

“Luke (Dean)brings a lot of energy. When he’s making shots from the corner, and guarding their team’s best player most nights, it’s really tough to not have him on the court,” said Hamlin. “He is a very high energy guy for us and a big reason for our success recently.”

Coach Hamlin took advantage of the lead and used the fourth quarter to play some less experienced players.

“It’s something we’ve not done a very good job this year, getting more people minutes. Sam Baughman, Micah Cheek, Braden Dunn, and Kobe Wessling, their day is coming, ” said Hamlin.

Tonight’s win marked the 100th victory in four years for the Mercer County boys basketball program. That is enough to make the Titans one of the top five winningest programs in the state during that time.

SCORING: Kaelin Drakeford 20, Jamisen Lewis 14, Carter Baughman 10, Nathan Tatum 6, Trey Price 5, Isaiah Smith 3, Bryce Yeast 2, Micah Cheek 1.

Junior Kaelin Drakeford (14) shoots a three pointer from the wing against Russell County on Monday, Feb. 4. Drakeford led the Titans with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the Titans’ victory over the Lakers. (Photo by Sam Warren)

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