Mercer County makes final four

March 11, 2016 FieldsColumn

Mercer County's Seygan Robins puts the defense on Holmes'  Jaynice Stovall. (Photo by Jim Osborn)

Mercer County’s Seygan Robins puts the defense on Holmes’ Jaynice Stovall. (Photo by Jim Osborn)

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — When the heat was on, Mercer County kept its cool and played its way into the final four of the St. Elizabeth HealthCare/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen. The Titans withstood a pressure-packed fourth quarter to beat Holmes 59-55 in Friday afternoon’s quarterfinals at BB&T Arena.

Mercer County (31-5) will play Franklin County (30-4) in Saturday night’s semifinals. (The Titans beat Franklin County 75-66 on Jan. 14.)

“Man, this is pretty awesome, to be sitting here going to the final four,” Titans Coach Chris Souder said.

“This is a huge win not just for our school but for our community.”

Holmes pushed Mercer County until the final horn, but the 12th Region champions hit enough free throws — including Seygan Robins’ 5-for-6 performance from the line in the last three minutes — to hold on.

“It was pretty hectic. We had to keep our composure,” Robins said. “We knew if we kept hitting our free throws and rebounding we’d be all right.”

Robins, a 5-foot-7 sophomore who has a scholarship offer from Kentucky, led the winners with 21 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds.

“Great players step up their game,” Souder said of Robins.

Emma Souder, the coach’s niece, had 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Twins Faith and Lexy Lake combined for 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Mercer County’s depth was a key considering that junior Lyric Houston, one of the Titans’ most versatile players, fouled out late in the third quarter. She had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists when she went to the bench.

Chris Sounder said that while Robins is obviously a “tremendous” player, “we’re a good team and we’ve got a lot of good players.”

Holmes was led by Jynea Harris’ 19 points. Jaynice Stovall and Kamari Graham had 13 points each. Graham, who hit three threes in the last quarter, also had 7 rebounds. Tyrah Englemon added 2 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists.

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