In another year, with a different bounce of the ball, or a different playoff matchup, the Mercer Cardinals could have sent both of their basketball teams to the Show-Me Showdown in Columbia this weekend. The potential, with an unbeaten, #1 ranked girls team, and a boys team that fell two points short of a trip to Columbia on Saturday night, was certainly there.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the past week resulted in Class 1 playoff losses, and ends to dreams of a state championship. For the Lady Cardinals, one week ago tonight, it was a stunning reversal of momentum that saw a Community team, down 28-7 midway through the second quarter, rally for a six-point win over the Lady Cardinals, knocking Mercer out of the Class 1 event in the Round of 16. The final interview of the season with Lady Cardinals Head Coach Dan Owens was conducted on Monday, March 7th, and aired on KTTN FM 92.3. Coach Owens was complimentary of Community, but wistful when remembering a second half that saw his team get good open looks, but go cold from the field in being caught, and beat:
The Mercer boys had their hopes of a trip to Columbia dashed in the blink of an eye. After Bryer Noe tied Saturday’s state quarterfinal against Glasgow with seven seconds left, a desperation half-court heave was air-balled, but caught by Yellowjacket junior Kennedy Davis, who hit the game-winning basket at the buzzer, sending Glasgow to state and leaving Mercer with its fifth loss of the season, this one a season-ender. Head Coach Jeff Wyatt is encouraged by the strong youth movement in the Cardinals program, noting that freshman Hunter Shipley should be a strong contributor as a sophomore, while overall, the 8th and 9th grade classes in the Mercer district have great potential. Mercer will be hit by graduation, losing three players, including guard Trey Wilson, but a summer move by sophomore Alec Patterson will take a key starter off the Cardinal starting lineup next season. Here is the final KTTN interview of the season with Coach Wyatt: