Mercer County rolls by Leslie County

March 9, 2016 FieldsColumn

Emma Davis led a fast break for Mercer County, which rolled past Leslie County.

Emma Davis led a fast break for Mercer County, which rolled past Leslie County.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — Mercer County began the St. Elizabeth HealthCare/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen by erasing all memory of last year’s lopsided loss in the state tournament.

The Titans, who were buried by Elizabethtown 79-38 in the first round in Bowling Green last year, leveled Leslie County 68-39 in Wednesday afternoon’s opener at BB&T Arena.

“What a difference a year makes,” Mercer County Coach Chris Souder said. “These kids worked extremely hard, and they came out really strong and played intense.”

Souder conceded that there was a big difference in the draw, too, noting E-town was the top-rated team in last year’s tournament, and Leslie County was the bottom-rated team this year.

“Nothing against Leslie County,” Souder said. “I was in his (Coach Mark Collett’s) boat last year.”

Mercer County started the game with an 11-0 run and added a 16-0 surge later in the quarter. Leslie County, making its first state tournament appearance in 30 years, couldn’t recover from a 42-12 halftime deficit.

Junior Lyric Houston led the Titans with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists. Sophomore Seygan Robins, who has an offer from UK, added 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Souder said it was a “big day” for Mercer County as it set a school record with 30 wins and made it to the quarterfinals for the first time.

Leslie County was led by Emily Griffith’s 18 points, including 3-for-3 three-point shooting. The Eagles missed 17 of their first 18 shots. They finished the day shooting 31% (14 of 45) and had 26 turnovers.