Many Region 12 fans were surprised when the Mercer County Lady Titans basketball team took down the 30-3 Danville Lady Admirals in the Region 12 championship game last season. Danville had won 11 games straight heading into to regional final, and the Lady Titans managed to win six straight games in postseason play despite their best player, Timberlynn Yeast, not touching the floor for a majority of the season due to injury.
Yeast was named Co-Region 12 Player of the Year and soon after committed to Marshall University. Her younger sister Teigh Yeast helped fi II the void left by Timberlynn, averaging a team second best 13 points per game. For the ffrst ti me since 2017, Head Coach Hayley Spivey will lead a Lady Titan team onto the court that doesn’t have a Yeast on the roster following Terry Yeast’s relocation to Winchester.
There’s no lack of talent on this season’s roster though. Senior Anna Kate Drakeford has been contributing regularly since she was in the eighth grade and boasts 1,367 career points. Drakeford will run the offense for the Lady Titans and looks to improve upon her I 6.8 points per game average as a junior.
“Anna Drakeford is one of the best players in the region and she showed that in our postseason run last year. She has the ability to take over a game not onJy offensively, but also defensively. Her basketball IQ is extremely high and she understands the game,” Spivey said.
While Drakeford is holding down the back-court, senior Sara Dunn will make her presence felt predominantly in the paint.
Dunn will have the biggest impact of any Lady Titan near the rim this season, but that doesn’t mean it’s where she will line up every possession.
“She has expanded her game to score and defend at all levels,” said Spivey.
When Dunn needs help protecting the rim, Spivey will look to the Carlton sisters. Junior Kate and freshman Izzie are both tall and can defend the paint and alter shots when needed.
Apart from combining for 22 points and 9 .6 rebounds per game, the senior duo’s greatest impact on this squad will come during practice. With so much talent leaving the program since last season, Mercer will be reliant on many players who have never been counted on in crunch time. The Lady Titans have only four upperclassmen on the roster this year, and it will take some time for freshman to adjust to the speed of the varsity level but Spivey believes the leadership provided by the senior duo will help bridge the gap throughout the season.