MERCER – Most teams use lopsided wins to work on plays or sets in live game situations.
The Mercer girls basketball team (3-0, 8-3) took full advantage of that opportunity in Thursday evening’s 54-33 victory over Lakeview (0-4, 2-9).
“We’ve been working on playing against a zone … getting the ball into the middle and things of that nature,” second-year Mercer coach Aaron Cook said. “I told them at halftime ‘These are the types of games that we need to work on this.’ We did a great job. Analise (Whenry) did a fantastic job in the post. She struggled a little bit in the first half and did a fantastic job in the second half, which bodes well for us.”
Despite the lopsided score, the Lady Sailors made a game of it in the early going, staying within a basket for a large portion of the first quarter before allowing a 26-6 run to end the first half.
“It was a better game than the last time we played Mercer,” Lakeview coach Jodi Seddon said. “At least, we gave them a game this time. We’re still making a lot of mistakes and it’s going to take time to change those habits. They’re listening and trying. You can see it.”
Mercer took advantage of Lakeview’s 33 turnovers.
“They’re used to overhead passes and chest passes against the zone,” Seddon said. “When you’re at the top, it just doesn’t work. They have to realize they have to use their fakes and bounce passes. They’ve started to do that and apply it now. It’ll come. (Mercer’s defense is) aggressive and they look to get after it. They love to trap. They’re doing a great job at it.”
Megan McKinney and Lexi Arkwright were the main beneficiaries of Lakeview’s mistakes with the two combining for 17 steals.
“Our defense has been steady all year,” Cook said. “That makes us go. We’re an up-tempo team and getting the steals lets us get out and run.”
Mercer, too, had its fair share of turnovers, committing 19 miscues – 14 in the second half.
“We also talked about how the turnover ratio is too high right now,” Cook said. “Some of them were unforced. Those are the ones that you get upset with. I’d say 10 of our turnovers were unforced errors. That’s something that we’re working on right now, but yes, it’s frustrating.”
McKinney led Mercer with a 23-point, 10-steal double double, while Arkwright tacked on 14 points, 7 steals, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
“Megan McKinney, what a game for her,” Cook said. “She had as many steals as she did points for us, which is really good. We’ve been talking with her about controlling herself after getting an interception. She did a good job.
“We set a goal of where we wanted to be and we’re exactly where we need to be. We’re at the top of the region. I know Sharon and Sharpsville are tough. Our three losses are quality losses and not something we slipped up on. We’re 3-0 in the league. Last year, we had six wins last year and we already have eight, We’re on a five-game winning streak. The girls didn’t even know what a winning streak was. It’s fun to see the transformation. Now, we have to clean up some fuzzy areas.”
NOTES: Chelsea Davis and Raygan Fischer equally split 16 points for Lakeview. … Caitlin Casciotti pulled down 8 rebounds and Casey Stringer had 6 points and 6 rebounds. … Mercer had 19 turnovers. … Lakeview outrebounded Mercer 34-28. … Alexis Mills had 4 steals, 3 assists and 3 rebounds. … Adelyn Cook and Analise Whenry each had 3 steals. … Mercer made 23-of-55 shots, but just 5-of-10 freebies. … The Lady Sailors connected on just 14-of-33 field goal attempts.
LAKEVIEW 6 10 11 6 33
MERCER 18 16 14 6 54
LAKEVIEW — Womer 2-1-2-5, Foster 2-0-0-4, Adams 0-0-0-0, Davis 2-4-4-8, Casciotti 1-0-0-2, Fischer 4-0-0-8, Stringer 3-0-5-6, Scott 0-0-0-0, McKean 0-0-0-0, Ruediger 0-0-0-0, K.Kasbee 0-0-0-0, M.Kasbee 0-0-0-0. Totals: 14-5-10-33.
MERCER — Whenry 1-0-0-2, Arkwright 6-0-0-14, Mills 2-0-0-4, Cook 2-0-0-4, Ryder 1-0-0-3, McKinney 9-5-10-23, Fisher 0-0-0-0, McCann 0-0-0-0, Garrett 0-0-0-0, Ferguson 0-0-0-0, Angermeier 1-0-0-2, Shoemaker 1-0-0-2, Zacherl 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Arkwright 2, Ryder. Totals: 23-5-10-54.
JV — Mercer, 29-25.