Golden Eagles season comes to an end

Robert Blackford/Editor
Mercer County's Bailey Krstic goes up for a shot against Rockridge.

The Mercer County Golden Eagles fell to Rockridge in the first round the Mercer County Girls Basketball Regional, 50-26.

The Rockets used the press early in the contest to create problems for the Mercer County offense. They built a 10-0 lead to start the game and led 16-4 at the end of the first quarter.

“We started well in the first quarter. We got on a roll and I carried us through the entire game,” said Rockridge coach Shawn Strachan.

“Emily Watkins stepped up. She has been a leader for us all year. Nikki Dixon and Kaylee Moseley did a nice job for us at the guard position.”

“I think Rockridge smelled blood early on,” said Mercer County Head Coach Becky Ince. “We’ve had trouble with pressure all year.

The Rockets press continued to give the Golden Eagles trouble in the second period and they went on a 13-1 run to start the second period.

Bailey Krstic hit a couple of baskets late in the second period as the Golden Eagles scored six of the last 10 points of the first half.

The Golden Eagles got off to a good start early in the second period with Sarah Higgins hitting a couple of shots inside. Mercer County went on a 6-2 run to start the second half prompting Rockridge coach Shawn Strachan to call a timeout.

The Rockets regrouped and scored the last 10 points of the third quarter.

The Golden Eagles kept fighting through the fourth period. Freshman Michaela Baker hit a three pointer and scored five of the Golden Eagles nine points in the period. Mercer County outscored Rockridge 9-5 in the final period.

“We were impressive early on. We hope we can carry that over until tomorrow,” said Strachan. “We’ve been looking forward to this regional and we are excited about the opportunity to play. This is our fourth win in a row so we are on a little roll.”

The victory put the Rockets at 14-13 on the season. Strachan said the team’s schedule has been rough this year point to losses to Riverdale, Geneseo and top ranked Havana. All of our losses were to teams who were one or two seeds in their regionals. “I think we beat the teams we were suppose to beat and lost to the teams we were suppose to lose to.

For Mercer County Coach Becky Ince it was an emotional year. She took over as head coach of the Golden Eagles a week before the season started. This followed a very successful tenure as the head coach of Sherrard.

Ince said after the end of the game she got a little “teary eyed” before meeting with team for the last time this season.

She said she had to adjust her goals for the team during the season. The seniors wanted to leave a legacy and if it wasn’t going to be in wins it would be in playing hard and going after loose balls. “I think they did that.”

Ince added, “It’s been a different kind of relationship with this group. It will be tough to say goodbye to this senior class. The kids got t-shirts saying ‘I survived Coach Ince.” They gave one to me that said, “Coach Ince survived the seniors.’

Scoring for Mercer County were: Bailey Krstic, 10; Michaela Baker, six; Sarah Higgins, five; Emma Downey and Kim Nelson, two and Bridget Anderson, one.

Scoring for Rockridge were: Emily Watkins, 19; Caitlyn McVay, 12; Nikki Dixon, eight; Kaylee Moseley, six; Ally Martens and Bre Lawless, two and Destiny Grawe, one.