Prep Basketball: Mercer boys lose their way, fall 95-70 to West Jessamine
Marcus Warren of Mercer County puts up a contested shot in the lane against West Jessamine defenders Ian Kossick (43) and Chase Fain during the second quarter of Mercer's 95-70 loss Friday. (Jonathan Stark / December 16, 2012)
West Jessamine was able to control the pace and flow of the game for much of the night, throwing off Mercer’s game plan that was so helpful in the Titans’ 4-1 start.
“We’ve had success through the first five games, and we did that playing a certain style and staying with our game plan. Tonight we didn’t,” Mercer coach Brian Britt said.
West Jessamine (6-2, 1-0 46th District) brought the defense early and held Mercer (4-2, 1-1) to only three points in the first quarter. The Titans didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 1-minute, 44-second mark, when Drew Davis hit one of two free throws.
Davis and the rest of the Mercer bench would prove integral, as they combined for 31 points. Tommy Craig led all Mercer players with 16 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes.
West Jessamine’s offense sputtered at the start as well, as the Colts turned the ball over with a couple of offensive fouls. They won the first quarter 12-3, however, as Mercer was just 1 for 13 from he field.
Mercer fell further behind in the second quarter despite establishing an offensive presence. Nearly half of the Titans’ offense in the period came from the free-throw line, where they hit eight of 11 attempts.
However, West Jessamine went on an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to take a 32-15 lead — its largest lead of the half.
“There was too much one-on-one; there was too much standing and watching, both offensively and defensively,” Britt said. “It’s like I told them, it only takes one person to do that (to throw everything off). It wasn’t one person in particular tonight, each and every one of them had a time when they were just standing on the floor.”
Britt said it was a combination of breakdowns on Mercer’s part as well as what West Jessamine was doing on both sides of the ball.
Mercer trailed 38-23 at halftime, and more breakdowns on defense led to more fouls by the Titans in the third quarter. They committed 10 fouls in the period, and West Jessamine attempted 19 free throws, hitting 16 of them. The Colts also had their best eight minutes of the night from the floor, going 8 for 13 to push their lead to as many as 33 points.
The Titans were able to build a small run in the final two minutes on the back of free throws, pulling within 69-48 heading into the fourth quarter, but they got no closer than 21 points in the final period.
Will Hager had a strong second half after being held scoreless in the first half, finishing with 11 points. Jordan Duncan added 11 points and four rebounds for the Titans, who were outrebounded 51-27.
Chase Fain scored seven of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter for West Jessamine, and Daulton Peters had 13 points in 14 minutes before fouling out with more than seven minutes remaining.
Mercer County shot just 55 percent (26 for 47) from the free-throw line and was 4 for 18 from 3-point range. West Jessamine was 31 for 36 at the line and 4 for 10 from beyond the arc.
“West is a great team. ... The bottom line is, we have to come into the game prepared to stick to the game plan, and we didn’t do that,” Britt said.
“We know what we have to do. It’s a matter of coming out and executing that, and we just had too many people not on the same page tonight, and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Mercer County 3 23 48 70
West Jessamine 12 36 63 95
MERCER (3-2) — Ingram 8, Hager 11, Duncan 11, Craig 16, Sims 4 Pennington 5, Sparrow 4, Price 4, Davis 7.
WEST JESSAMINE¿(6-2) — Richards 8, Irgang 14, Fain 23, Henderson 18, Peters 13, Adkins 2, Jackson 5, Kossick 4, Holifeld 4, Sanders 2, Bandy 2.