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Mercer basketball ends regular season with loss to Southwestern

April Ellis

Herald Staff

Thursday, Feb. 22, was not a good night for Mercer County basketball. Both the girls’ (16-13) and boys’ (19-11) teams were beat in a double header against the Southwestern Warriors of Pulaski County.

The Titans

Emotions ran high for the Warriors (13-15) on their senior night and they parlayed that into a victory few saw coming. Southwestern’s game plan was simple, shut down junior Trevor Ellis in the post by any means, and that’s what they did. Ellis, normally easy going, showed his frustration with the jersey grabs, arm lock ups and hacks.

The Warriors jumped out 7-0, before senior John Lincoln Perry hit his first jump shot of the evening. The Titans only hit one more basket, a 3-point shot from Jackson Perry and trailed at the end of the first quarter, 14-5.

The Titans shots fell flat in the second quarter and died on the rim while everything the Warriors put up converted to points. Mercer continued to struggle rebounding. Sophomore Kaleb Murray added a layup to wrap up the first half and Mercer trailed 25-10.

Mercer’s shots began to fall in the second half. Junior Andrew Tatum hit a 3-point shot and it was the spark the Titans needed. Ellis blocked Southwestern’s shot, Tatum recovered it and pushed it down the floor for a layup by JL Perry.  Sophomore Jackson Doughty added a 3-point shot and JL Perry followed with a drive. However, every time Mercer started to gain momentum offensively, they would make bad choices defensively and Southwestern would make them pay. Mercer made up a little ground, but still trailed 41-27 at the end of the third quarter.

Doughty hit another 3-point shot and the Titans slowly began to claw back. Ellis had two layups from out of bounds play and was fouled on a 3-point shot, hitting two of the three. The Titans had the opportunity to cut the score to single digits, but an offensive foul was called away from the ball, killing the momentum, and the Titans faithful had no qualms expressing their displeasure over the call.

With most everyone in foul trouble, Coach Adkins rotated in his bench and the Titans fell to the Warriors, 54-40.

District play ramps up this week. Burgin faced West Jessamine on Monday night and Mercer played their first round on Wednesday night against West Jessamine. The championship game will be Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at East Jessamine. See next week’s edition for the district coverage and wrap up.

Stats:

Scoring – Ellis 14, JL Perry 8, Doughty 6, Tatum 5, J. Perry 3, Murray 2, Braylon Ellis 2

Rebounds – T. Ellis 5, J. Perry 5, B. Ellis 2, Tatum 2, Murray 1, Gage Phillips 1.

The Lady Titans

The Lady Titans knew they would have their hands full  with a talented Southwestern Lady Warriors (18-11) team.

The Lady Titans were able to draw a few foul calls with seniors Anna Kate Drakeford and Sara Dunn along with freshman Izzie Carlton combining for four of their six points from the charity stripe. The Lady Warriors were able to keep Drakeford and Dunn off the board for the majority of the opening quarter and Drakeford grabbed only one other basket. Carlton added a jump shot and 3-point shot but the Lady Titans trailed 20-11 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Drakeford found her way around the defenders and was successful driving the ball. On an open shot, she sank her first 3-pointer for the night. Dunn was also successful on a 3-point shot and a putback. The seniors were the only Lady Titans to score in the second quarter and they ended the first half down, 40-27.

When Dunn was able to shake loose her defender on the perimeter, she hit two more 3-point shots. Carlton added one of her own. Drakeford’s driving ability was slowed, but she was sent to the foul line instead and hit four of her eight free-throw attempts. The Lady Titans out scored the Lady Warriors in the third quarter 18-15, but still trailed 55-44.

Both teams had an answer for whatever the other threw at them and were evenly matched in the fourth quarter.  All but two of Southwestern’s 12 points in the fourth quarter came from the free throw line. Dunn and Drakeford both contributed 3-point shots and Drakeford was four of six from the foul line. Carlton rounded out the scoring with two more points and the Lady Titans ended their regular season with a 67-56 loss to the Southwestern Lady Warriors.

The Lady Titans faced East Jessamine on Tuesday night and the girls’ 46th District championship game will be tonight, Thursday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. at East Jessamine.

Stats:

Scoring – Drakeford 28, Dunn 15, Carlton 13.

Rebounds – Drakeford 7, Skylar Webb 5, Dunn 4, Alexa Wade 3, Carlton 2, Cardin Sickles 2, Kate Carlton 1, Jaley Bowman 1.

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