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Mercer County’s work paid off with state title that community wanted as much as players

Mercer County players enjoyed their bus ride home Sunday after winning the state title. (Josh Hamlin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

HARRODSBURG — Mercer County will honor its state championship girls basketball team with a district-wide pep rally Thursday at 2 p.m. in the high school gym in what should be a raucous celebration for what this team did.

“For me being a senior and ending my season with a win and winning a state championship is the greatest feeling in the world. For me the impact has been uniting everyone, and it’s great to see the community come to Northern Kentucky to support us girls. We appreciate it so much,” Mercer senior Alie Burke said.

The team was overwhelmed with the welcome home celebration Sunday.

“Winning a state title means so much to me. We have been working toward the goal of winning state for so many years and have put in a lot of hard work to come up just a little short before this year. To actually win it all this year, all that work has finally paid off. And to know how much work it takes to win state, it prepares us even more for the future years to win it again,” junior Emmy Souder said.

“Once we got back to Mercer, we could definitely feel the excitement from everyone in the gym. The atmosphere was great. We have been very lucky to have so much support from the community.”

Lucky? No way. This team won 31 games and deserved every accolade it received along with the superb community support.

“It makes all the work that we put into it so much more worth it. I feel like winning the title is going to help bring our community together. I was amazed at the large crowds we had and then the welcome home from the community,” Lexy Lake said.

Faith Lake knows the community was proud of what the Titans did.

“Winning this title is one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” she said. “It was probably the best day of my life.”

State tourney MVP Seygan Robins remembers looking at all the Mercer fans standing at the end of the state title game and knowing the team had made history.

“I think I really realized how much it meant to the community when we got back and the gym was full of people giving us a standing ovation. I think it was then that I knew we had really done something,” Robins said. “Great for our town and our program.”

Emma Davis felt like winning the state title was a community goal.

“Winning the state championship title is still sinking it. The feeling of knowing we ended our season this way is so surreal. The community support is so unreal. Just seeing how many people have texted me, called me, or tweeted at me to wish us congrats is incredible,” Davis said.

“I cannot thank the community enough for taking their time to come support us through our journey. The state championship was a goal that not only the team, but everyone in the community, wanted to achieve. There were countless people in our community who put in time, effort and money to help us achieve our ultimate goal. So proud and honored to be apart of such a great community!”

Senior Jennifer Merchant said it was “truly a dream come true” to be part of Mercer’s first state championship team.

“It also means a lot to this community as it is the first time we have won a basketball state championship in school history. I believe this win allows the community to see how much hard work we put into basketball and that all the support and help with fundraisers really helps us,” Merchant said.

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Souder and several of his players will join myself and Tim Estes on WPBK (102.9 FM) Thursday from 7:30-8 a.m. to talk about their magical season. You can also listen at www.wpbkfm.com.

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