Ivy incredible: Turner scores 43 points as Admirals take down Mercer County

Published 11:53 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

SOMERSET — Danville defeated the two-time defending state champion.

The Admirals, led by Ivy Turner, took down Mercer County in emphatic fashion with a 72-57 victory on Thursday at Pulaski County in the 12th Region quarterfinals.

Turner scored a game-high 43 points to lead Danville to its first 12th Region tournament win since 2014 when the Admirals won the region crown.

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That was also the last time a team not named Mercer County won the 12th Region tournament.

There will be a different region champion this year, and Turner will have something to say about it.

“My last words to her was ‘don’t make this your last game,’” Danville head coach Judie Mason said.

From the start, Turner proved she was the best player on the court. She scored six points in the first 2 minutes, 30 seconds to help the Admirals to an 8-2 lead. By the end of one quarter, she had 12 of Danville’s 20 points. Mercer had nine.

“We prepared for that, our gameplan was we can’t let her get 40,” Mercer County head coach Hayley Spivey said. “She got what, 43? That’s all to her. I’ll be honest, I thought we were doing a decent job defensively on her, she can just score. It helps when you’ve got the best player on the floor and Danville did tonight.”

Turner had 21 points at halftime as Danville led 38-20.

“I said to them in there, ‘would you have thought this a year ago today?’ None of them would’ve believed it,” Mason said. “It’s not my coaching, all I brought was discipline, structure, motivation. They’ve done it all. I turned it over to them tonight, they were talking, they were doing more.”

Mason re-focused her team on the defensive side of the ball after giving up 99 points in the final home game of the season against Casey County. That work paid off against the Titans, who had been held under 60 points just eight times this year prior to Thursday’s meeting.

“We totally changed our defense up. Because I’m not going to lie, I was embarrassed when we gave up 99 points,” Mason said. “We went to work on defense because I am a defensive coach. But it’s nice when you’ve got Ivy Turner who can get to the hole any time she wants to. Even if you chase her. Tonight, she had a different motor about her.”

The Admirals went away from their usual full-court all-out pressure and instead opted for a softer press and a 2-3 zone behind it. Mercer struggled to shoot the Admirals out of that zone, finishing with just one three at halftime and three for the entire game.

“Our biggest bugaboo this year has been outside shooting,” Spivey said. “I figured Danville would play us a zone, and if I was coaching us that’s what I’d do. We struggled from the three point line tonight. If you can’t hit an outside shot you’re not going to pull the defense out. But I felt good, I felt like our girls had the right mindset. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t swing your way.”

Channing Lewis scored 16 points and had two of Mercer’s three makes from beyond the arc. Timberlynn Yeast scored 15 points.

The two teams met once during the regular season when Mercer won 93-79 at Danville. Yeast had 36 points and 16 rebounds.

But this game, Turner took her play to another level and Mason said her teammates helped as well.

“The last time we played, nobody helped outside of Ivy and Lara (Akers),” Mason said. “I think everybody else got better tonight. Ahyana (Burnett), Desiree (Tandy), Madison (Terrell) started the game and gave us momentum. That’s a good ball club. But we haven’t done anything if we don’t continue to do this. This was the game, first round game, now we’ve got to move on and get ready for Casey.”

Mercer would pour in 23 points in the third quarter, but the Titans couldn’t stop Turner. She scored 14 points in the third and kept the game out of reach.

In the fourth quarter, Mason was calling timeouts simply to keep her team fresh. The Titans couldn’t crack the Admirals’ lead.

“I said, ‘this is your all’s timeout to just get a break, get your breath back, composure.’ There was nothing we needed to change,” Mason said. “That’s how we’ve grown together, we’ve done that since day one. We’ve grown together as a group and we don’t want it to finish because we enjoy each other. They played like it tonight, like they didn’t want it to end.”

Danville will face Casey County in the 12th Region tournament semifinals on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Box score

12th Region quarterfinals at Pulaski County


DANVILLE 20 18 22 12 72

MERCER COUNTY 9 11 23 14 57



DANVILLE (24-6): Ivy Turner 43, Lara Akers 14, Ahyana Burnett 5, Jenna Akers 4, Desiree Tandy 4, Madison Terrell 2.

MERCER COUNTY (20-11): Channing Lewis 16, Timberlynn Yeast 15, Toni McCombs 11, Calicia Smith 7, Camryn Preston 5, Love Mays 3.