Prep Basketball: Mercer County boys hoping to see improvement
Mercer County junior guard Russell Sims led the Titans in scoring and rebounding last season. Mercer returns its top eight players and coach Brian Britt has high expectations for his team. (Hal Morris / November 20, 2012)
HARRODSBURG — With an entirely new squad, the Mercer County boys took their lumps last year in a 9-22 season.
Now coach Brian Britt is hoping those struggles will make his team better going into this year.
“It was a completely new team. We took our bumps and bruises, it was very difficult to keep that team morale,” Britt said. “We won nine games lat year, so the fact we got through it has made us a better team, a better program. And being my third year, we’re now starting to even things out so maybe we dont get back into that situation.”
Britt said he hopes experience helps the Titans pull out close games they couldn’t win last year.
“We return everybody, and one of the things that we have going for us with that type of situation is with my kids being first-year varsity players last year we still had that room for growth,” he said.
The Titans boasted a winning record this summer after struggling last summer, and Britt said he can see that growth.
“They had some success this summer, so they have a whole new outlook and whole new perspective,” he said. “And we don’t have a dominant big, but we do a lot of long kids. And we’re deep, so we’re going to try and use that to our advantage.”
Junior guard Russell Sims returns after leading the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and rebounds (5.8 rpg). He is joined in the backcourt by senior John Ingram, who averaged 11.2 points per game. Britt has been impressed with Ingram’s improvement.
“He struggled last year handling the ball, and some of the offseason drills we’ve done, they’re seeing the benefits now of that work in the preseason,” Britt said.
Senior forward Jordan Duncan averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 boards a game, junior Louis Price averaged 3.9 points and 2.3 boards and freshman Drew Davis averaged 5 points per game last year.
“Drew is just so big and strong as a freshman, and he brings energy,” Britt said. “He’s very intelligent when it comes to the game of basketball.”
The Titans may also have some more motivation after being picked among the bottom teams in the 12th Region in preseason rankings.
“I don’t mind beng an underdog, I’ve kind of grown up being an underdog,” Britt said. “It makes us work harder and makes us work harder to prove people wrong.”
Britt said being picked so low should be a “slap in the face, and you go out to work harder and get better and prove people wrong.
“It’s going to take blood, sweat and tears to get their goal of winning and bringing the district title back to Mercer, which is their goal. And if they get in the regional, anything can happen.”
Keys to the Season
Britt said his team just needs to continue to learn how to play.
“Just understand the game of basketball and understand the concept of team defense and taking care of the ball and playing every possession like it could be your last possession,” he said. “