The Lady Titans (7-4) faced Scott High School Lady Eagles (10-2) of Taylor Mill, in the opening round of the 4 Bank Winter Classic hosted by Garrard County High School on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023.
Mercer began the game on a 4-0 run but Scott’s elite level of shooting behind the perimeter quickly usurped the Lady Titans gameplan. Scott started the game with a full court press that Mercer struggled to find any avenues through, and the Titans 2-3 zone defense was picked apart over the opening eight minutes. At the end of one, Mercer trailed Scott 22-13.
“We knew we needed to make a change and pressure the shooters more. We switched to a man to allow us to cover shooters and pressure the ball to force turnovers,” said Head Coach Hayley Spivey.
Mercer couldn’t contain the Lady Eagle guards and they broke into the lane with ease. Once in the lane, Nakiah Meija and Kaia Peterson were able to beat the Lady Titan back court consistently. Scott’s combination of physicality and speed made the Lady Titans look uncomfortable in every aspect of their game in the first half. With 4:29 left in the second quarter, Mercer trailed 33-13. Almost five minutes had run off of the clock before the Lady Titans finally scored a basket in the second quarter.
It took longer than the Lady Titan supporters would have liked, but when Anna Kate Drakeford found her groove, the scoring didn’t stop. Drakeford scored 10 of the Lady Titans’ points in the final 3:16 of the second quarter. Izzie Carlton swatted a Lady Eagles shot and Drakeford grabbed the loose ball before sprinting the full length of the court and cutting Scott’s lead down to 39-22.
Mercer went to the locker room trailing 44-23.