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Mercer Falls In Clash Of The Titans

The Harrodsburg Herald/April Ellis
Senior guard Owen Barnes handed the ball away during Mercer’s loss to Collins on Saturday, Feb. 3.

April Ellis
Herald Staff

The Mercer County Titans (14-8) faced off against the Collins High School Titans (9-14) on Saturday, Feb. 3.  It was a tale of two halves, each ruled by a different Titan, but ultimately Collins won the clash in a close game, 59-56.

Mercer opened the game on fire, hitting five 3-point shots in the first quarter. Head Coach Keith Adkins said earlier in the morning on the Breakfast with the Coaches radio show on WHBN, that practices had looked a little different as of late. Following drill work, the “bigs” would work on post-play with Assistant Coach Brian Pendygraft, and the guards would work on their 3-point shooting, putting up as many shots as possible. The change in practice was noticeable on the court.

Both teams were feeling it behind the perimeter in the first quarter. Collins’ sophomore Nicholas Ballard put up consecutive threes in the opening minutes and  Mercer followed with two threes by Owen Barnes and Kaleb Murray, 6-6. Ellis had three points, the old-fashioned way, off a bucket with an assist from Andrew Tatum and a made foul shot.

Ellis battled hard for the ball on an offensive rebound and caught John Lincoln Perry moving toward the basket for the layup. The rest of the quarter was all threes. Collins hit one to tighten the score some, 14-9, but Jackson Perry and Tatum answered back each with 3-point shots and Mercer had their first double digit lead of the night, 21-9.

Ellis started the second quarter with a strong put-back and Mercer had to work a little harder for their points this quarter with only one 3-point bucket by Tatum. Sophomore Jackson Doughty saw Ellis with the opportunity and fed the big man the ball for a nasty dunk. Tatum returned the favor and found Doughty wide open under the basket for an easy layup, as Collins was forced to push out toward the perimeter and guard Mercer from the three.

Tatum knocked the ball loose just a step or two across the half-court line and dropped in a layup, 31-17. Barnes drove past defenders to add a few more and widen the gap before the half. However, Collins wasn’t ready to roll over just yet and sank a few more 3-point shots to cut Mercer’s lead back to 10, 35-25.

For the rest of the story—including game stats—check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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