By LARRY VAUGHT
SOMERSET — Sometimes a special moment/memory comes at the most unexpected time.
That happened here Monday night during the Girls 12th Region Tournament. Tourney favorite Mercer County had a 90-68 lead over Boyle County in the first-round game with just a few seconds remaining when Boyle coach Greg Edwards took senior Emmie Harris out for the final time.
She became Boyle’s all-time leading scorer (both boys and girls) a few weeks ago, ranks among the state’s top 10 scorers at 25.5 points per game and recently verbally committed to Utah State. She went out in style with a season-high 35 points — including the game’s first seven points — and finishes her career 2ith 2,525 points. She also had four steals, four blocked shots, six rebounds and three assists.
As she headed toward Edwards, Boyle fans stood and applauded because it could be a long time before Boyle has a basketball player — or three-sport standout — like her. Both her and Edwards cried as they embraced.
But as I looked at the other end of the court, every Mercer play and coach was also standing and applauding. That’s classy. Seldom do you see something like that but just showed the respect Mercer coach Chris Souder and his players, including five juniors who have verbally committed to Division I schools have for Harris.
Mercer is good. Really good.
Five players scored in double figures — Lyric Houston 20, Lexy Lake 18 (six 3-pointers), Louisville commit Seygan Robins 16, Faith Lake 13 and Emma Davis 11. Emmy Souder added 8. Robins had six assists and two steals, Lexy and Faith Lake both had four steals, and Emma Davis had six rebounds.
Mercer coach Chris Souder joked earlier Monday that Harris might get 60 points against his team. She averaged 30.3 points per game in postseason play and perhaps had the best overall game of her senior season Monday.
“She’s just special,” Souder said. “She can do so many things and do them all well. We have nothing but respect for her as a player and person.”
Same here. I consider myself lucky to have got to know her and see what she could do on a soccer field or on a track as well as the basketball court. She’s a superb student. She’s involved in the community.
It wasn’t easy to see her cry as she hugged her mother and grandmother after the game, but she did all she could do for her team and there’s no better legacy to leave than to go out giving your absolute best in your final game.