Golden Eagles upset Tigers in regional opener

Robert Blackford/Editor
Mercer County's Colton Wood pulls up against the Sherrard defense.

The fifth seeded Mercer County Golden Eagles held off the fourth seeded Sherrard Tigers to win the first round of the Mercer County boys' basketball regional, 51-42 on Monday night, Feb. 21.

Mercer County only trailed once in the game at 2-0, but both teams got off to a slow start scoring wise. Spencer Islamoski's three pointer at 3:46 in the first quarter put up the Golden Eagles' first points of the game. Mercer County scored 10 points in the next 2:14 ending the quarter with a 10-2 lead.

“It was crucial for us to get out to that lead,” said Mercer County head coach Brian Hutton, “since we went the first four minutes without scoring. The kids responded in the end.”

Hutton said, “I'm happy with the win but I thought the execution was sloppy for both teams.”

Josh Fisher hit a three pointer for Sherrard to open the second quarter as the Tigers cut the Mercer County lead to five points. The Golden Eagles kept up the pressure outscoring Sherrard 9-2 over the next few minutes and taking a 12-point lead. Baskets by Marcus McCreight helped the Tigers stay within reach, but a layup at the buzzer by Colton Wood gave the Golden Eagles a 27-15 lead at the half.

The Golden Eagles relied on Wood in the third quarter and he answered with six of the team's 10 points as Mercer County increased its lead to 14 points, 37-23 by the end of the quarter.

“Colton's played great the past couple of weeks. He's really come around the past couple of games,” Coach Hutton said.

The Tigers spent the final quarter putting Mercer County at the free throw line. All of the Golden Eagles' 14 fourth quarter points came from the free throw line with Wood scoring 10 points in the final period alone. He hit 14-17 from the free throw line during the game. The Tigers pounded the ball inside for most of the final period and outscored Mercer County 19-14, but it wasn't enough.

Scoring for Mercer County were: Colton Wood, 25; Spencer Islamoski, 14; Derick Hermanson, six; Tanner Matlick, four and Tanner Dunn, two.

 Scoring for Sherrard were: Andy Anderson, 10; Marcus McCreight, nine; Ben Hutton, eight; Josh Fisher, six; Jake Friichtenicht, five and Kevin Hauger, four.