Trevon Faulkner leads Mercer County past West Jessamine

Published 11:38 pm Friday, December 15, 2017

HARRODSBURG — It won’t be the last time you read this phrase this season: Trevon Faulkner took over in the fourth quarter.

Mercer County trailed West Jessamine by three points entering the fourth quarter and came back to win 89-77, thanks in large part to Faulkner’s game-high 47 points.

Mercer head coach Josh Hamlin told Faulkner before the game that this might need to be a game where he takes command. Down the stretch, everyone in the gym knew who was getting the ball.

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“With Trevon, we’ve told him to be a little more aggressive,” Hamlin said. “His stat lines have been reading 22-26 points, seven or eight rebounds and assists. That just speaks to the type of player that he is. I told him that tonight might have to be a takeover … his decision-making is really, really accelerated. When we have him with the basketball, he’s tough to guard offensively. Then when he makes his passes, we’re getting wide open looks. It’s a coaching staff decision, it’s Trevon being a good basketball player and it’s our kids being smart.”

The first half, however, was a strong display from the visitors. West had three players in double figures at halftime — Drew Cook, Dalton Bruner and Skyler Cannady. Faulkner led all scorers with 15 points at the break.

The Titans were outscored 25-12 in the second quarter, and the Colts’ play was a big reason why.

“Coach (Damon) Kelley, he does such a good job,” Hamlin said. “Every year I’ve been over here and been able to watch them play, they’re so well coached. They scrap, they play hard. It’s a rivalry game, but we have tremendous respect for him and the program he’s created over there. West is a really good basketball team. We didn’t play our best in that second quarter, but that had a lot to do with the way they were pushing the basketball, the way they were spacing us out and knock down shots. They’re a really good basketball team.”

The Colts were led throughout the game by standout junior Bruner, who finished the game with 34 points.

The third quarter was a battle for both teams, finishing with West holding a 59-56 edge.

In the fourth, Faulkner stepped up, but Hamlin was proud of his supporting cast after the game.

Gunnar Gillis finished the game with nine points and had an important and-one to put Mercer ahead 82-74 in the fourth.

“Gunnar is starting to get in a little better basketball shape,” Hamlin said. “He was a little sore after football, we tried taking it easy on him. Last week he played in the all-star football game and did extremely well. Just trying to make sure he’s good to go. Tonight, you saw a classic Gunnar Gillis game. He was a warrior, played exceptionally hard … Trevon had a great game, that’s true, but Gunnar set a lot of ball screens and did a lot of the dirty work that will go unnoticed. I’m extremely proud of him. We’ve got to do a better job — I’ve got to do a better job — of getting him more touches. Nine points, he probably scored every time he touched the ball.”

Mercer’s second leading scorer was Ty Divine, who finished with 15 points.

“Ty Divine, I don’t know what else you can say,” Hamlin said. “The kid has never played varsity basketball and there’s not a shot that is too big. When he hits one, you’ll notice teammates will start automatically going back to him. Ty’s got that hot hand, he’s extremely unselfish, he’s one of our best defenders. I’m really proud of his development and where he’s at right now.”

Hamlin also noted his starting point guard Carter Baughman as a player whose stats didn’t represent just how well he played Friday.

“One kid that’s really going to go unnoticed in this game is Carter Baughman,” the coach said. “First half, he sat out with some fouls, we had a tough time. He only finished with two points, but his defense on Drew Cook was really good. I told Carter, a couple years ago he might have struggled to come back into this game after that foul trouble. But tonight, he was mentally engaged the whole time and he made a big difference in the second half.”

At the end of the game, Mercer players gave credit to their opponents — a perfect cap to a perfect night of high school basketball, Hamlin said.

“I thought the crowd was really good, the student section was excellent,” Hamlin said. “Jeffy the deer is the man. That’s what high school basketball should be. It should be two good teams going back and forth at each other. Each time somebody gets knocked down, someone helps them up. I thought it was the ultimate sign of respect, at the end when our kids gave them a high five and a hug. That shows you that they appreciate the battle. That’s something that is sometimes missing. I thought our kids and West did a really good job of that.”




MERCER (6-1, 2-0): Trevon Faulkner 47, Ty Divine 15, Kaelin Drakeford 9, Gunnar Gillis 9, Aaron Johnson 6, Carter Baughman 2, Trey Miller 1.


WEST JESSAMINE (3-1, 0-1): Dalton Bruner 34, Skyler Cannady 16, Drew Cook 15, Kyle Anderson 8, Braeden Fomas 2, DeAjuan Stepp 2.


Score by quarter


MC  20  12  24  33  89

WJ  13  25  21  18  77