The Mercer girls’ basketball team continued its good start to their season, while the boys had a tough time getting going.
The girls defeated Solon Springs 54-49 on Friday, Dec. 13.
Then the boys lost to Solon Springs 76-52 on Monday.
Early on the Tigers had an eight-point lead using their diamond press to their advantage. At one point they led by double digits in the first half.
“(We looked like we would) take control and cruise,” coach Vic Saeger said.
Then Solon Spring’s Kylli Rajala started to weave her way through the press and hit a number of 3-pointers. She had 15 points in the first half.
“Rajala from Solon Springs (started) shredding the press and kind of let them get back in it,” Saeger said.
The Tigers led 26-23 at the half.
With three minutes to go in the game, Solon Springs had taken the momentum and were leading by one.
“They made a good run. We kind of felt like we lost some momentum,” Saeger said. “The whole second half we went back and forth, battled the whole way.”
That is when Ava Barton erupted with two 3-pointers that swayed the momentum back to the Tigers side.
“KD Knipp had a big basket in that stretch and we ended up winning by five,” Saeger said.
One thing the Tigers did a good job at was keeping Rajala at bay. She finished the game with 23 points and five 3-pointers. Numerous players guarded her throughout the night.
“We took KD (and) she did an unbelievably fabulous job of shutting (Rajala) down,” Saeger said. “Molly (Hohner) played great defense — she really helped on Rajala and recovered to her player really fast and played unbelievably good.”
Zoe Botes led the team with 15 points, Knipp finished with 11 points and Aubrey Schoeneman finished with 10 points.
The win puts their record at 3-1, including a 2-1 conference record.
Their next game came Tuesday, Dec. 17 against South Shore. Coverage of that will be in the Dec. 24 edition of The Times.
“If we win that one we’re going to be in really good shape,” Saeger said. “Mercer had a couple down years. (Beating South Shore hopefully will) open peoples’ eyes that we’re for real.”
After a long break, the Tigers play Tuesday, Jan. 7 at home against Butternut approximately starting at 7 p.m.
Solon Springs’ sharp-shooting proved to be too much for the Mercer boys’ team. They combined to make 10 3-pointers on the night, five of them coming from James Gehl.
Baylie Huybrecht tried to keep pace with Solon Springs. He made two 3-pointers in the first half. Solon Springs led 34-24 at the half.
“(Solon Springs) shot the lights out early and we could never get over the hill,” coach Adam Miller said.
The second half was much of the same. Solon Springs scored 42 points against the Tigers 28. Colin Lisson led Solon Springs with five baskets in the second half.
Huybrecht scored a team-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers.
The loss puts the boys record at 2-2, 1-2 in conference.
Their next game came Tuesday, Dec. 17 against South Shore. Coverage of that will be in the Dec. 24 edition of The Times
Then they play tonight at Three Lakes approximately starting at 7 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]