Faulkner nets 43 to sink Admirals in region quarterfinals

Published 12:07 am Friday, March 2, 2018

SOMERSET — Trevon Faulkner came to play.

The Mr. Basketball candidate led his team to a 75-51 victory over Danville in the first round of the 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County High School, scoring a game-high 43 points.

No one was within 20 points of Faulkner’s total.

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Mercer head coach Josh Hamlin said he knew Faulkner was primed for a big game when he got on the bus.

“Big time players make big time plays in big time games,” Hamlin said. “Trevon Faulkner stepped up. His demeanor when he got on the bus was the same when he checked out of the game with two minutes to go. It did not change.”

Danville head coach Ed McKinney said it looked like a Mr. Basketball performance.

“It looked like it. I’m rooting for him,” McKinney said. “He plays the game the right way. To me, he deserves it because he plays right. He keeps his teammates involved, he hustles, he wants to win, he competes, he’s a great kid, polite, nice, never pounds his chest. He’s what you want. He’s on a different level.”

Thursday’s game started on another level.

Both teams traded baskets in the first quarter, but it was Faulkner and Carter Baughman pushing the pace for Mercer: Faulkner had 13 points, Baughman had nine in the first quarter alone.

Danville’s offense was up to the task in the first half and led 29-24 in the middle of the second quarter.

But the Titans ended the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 36-31 lead into halftime. Faulkner had 17 points, Baughman had 15 at halftime.

“They had the best player on the floor, and usually in these region tournaments, if you have that you’re going to be successful,” McKinney said. “I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half, but I knew when we turned it over a couple times there. We needed to keep some game pressure on them to keep it at four, five. That’s what we were hoping for, but turnovers there hurt us.”

Danville’s scoring was balanced in the first half: Zach Thornton led the way with nine points while Jared Southerland and Jaleel Warren each scored six.

Hamlin praised his players for ramping up their ball movement in the second half: In the third quarter, Mercer outscored the Ads 22-11.

“That’s what a lot of people say, ‘let’s stop Trevon.’ When you stop Trevon, any time on the floor we’ve got four capable shooters and ball handlers,” Hamlin said. “If you help off on Trevon, he gets someone else a great look and makes a great pass. In the first half, we played a little too stagnant. The second half, we were moving the ball from side to side and playing the game that we know how to play, we got great shots and we were able to make them.”

Baughman finished with 22 points behind Faulkner’s 43. Gunnar Gillis scored five, Ty Divine had three and Kaelin Drakeford two for the Titans.

“That’s the same thing we’ve been saying for the last month: You win basketball games in late February, early March with seniors,” Hamlin said. “Trevon is going to get a lot of credit, deservedly so. Gunnar Gillis, I don’t have enough adjectives to describe Gunnar Gillis’ worth to this team. It doesn’t matter how many points he scored, he doesn’t care about it. He battled, he passed, he boxed out. I love that kid. Ty Divine, three minutes to go in the game and one-on-four he wins a box out to earn us another possession. Jackson Lewis gave us good minutes. Trevon is just Trevon. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Danville’s offense struggled to score in the fourth, scoring just nine points.

Meanwhile, Faulkner scored all of Mercer’s points in the final eight minutes, putting up 17 to close out the game.

The Titans will face Somerset in the 12th Region semifinals on Monday, March 5 at 8 p.m.

“You’re in this business, survive and advance in March,” Hamlin said. “I’ve got tremendous respect for coach (Jeron) Dunbar, he’s done a great job at Somerset, he’s done the best job of anyone in this region this year. They’re a really, really good basketball team and it’s going to take a herculean effort from us to come out of here Monday with a win. This place is going to be rocking. It’s why we scheduled the way we did.”

Danville’s year finishes at 15-16, but the Ads rebounded after an 0-4 start and went on a 9-4 run to end the year. McKinney said he was proud of all four of his seniors in their final year: Warren, Southerland, David Walker and Tanner Ford.

“I’m proud of all of those guys,” McKinney said. “Jaleel, he was tough. He took some of David’s minutes there in the second half, but he was playing so well I had to go with him. David Walker played a big role for us this year. He was willing to take less shots and do what we needed him to do. All seniors want to be a big part, but he was unselfish all year. Tanner, he loves it. He competes. He doesn’t want to put his uniform up. Jared, 1,000 point scorer, four year starter. Him and Spence, my son, they go back through golf and basketball. It’s hard to lose these seniors. You’re never really ready for it till it happens, then you think ‘wow, this is the last time they’ll all be in the locker room together.’”


Box score


12th Region quarterfinals

At Pulaski County High School


DANVILLE 21 10 11 9 51
MERCER COUNTY 22 14 22 17 75



MERCER (26-5): Trevon Faulkner 43, Carter Baughman 22, Gunnar Gillis 5, Ty Divine 3, Kaelin Drakeford 2.

DANVILLE (15-16): Zach Thornton 12, Tanner Ford 11, Jaleel Warren 9, Jared Southerland 8, DeShaud St. Martin 5, David Walker 2, Tevin Kavanaugh 2, Dante Hayden 2.