2016-17 Mercer Boys’ Basketball Preview

The Mustangs open their campaign in Grove City at the Kiser Classic.

Mercer Mustangs High School Basketball

2016-17 Mercer Boys’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Dustin Snyder, 2nd season (9-14)
2015-16 Record: 9-14 (3-9), 6th place in Region 2

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

2015-16 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 42.8
Scoring Defense: 51.9
Rebounding: 22.9
Field Goal Percentage: 38.6%
Three-Point Percentage: 25.5%
Free Throw Percentage: 64.9%

2015-16 Results
Cambridge Springs 52 Mustangs 45*
West Middlesex 81 Mustangs 41
Lakeview 51 Mustangs 37
Reynolds 69 Mustangs 46
Greenville 41 Mustangs 14
Mustangs 44 Sharpsville 36
Wilmington 60 Mustangs 48
West Middlesex 97 Mustangs 48
Mustangs 40 Lakeview 36
Reynolds 55 Mustangs 41
Rocky Grove 52 Mustangs 42
Mustangs 54 Shenango 33
Mustangs 57 VisionQuest 47
Northwestern 58 Mustangs 38
Mustangs 50 Conneaut, OH 34
Cambridge Springs 68 Mustangs 35
Greenville 51 Mustangs 34
Mustangs 67 Sharpsville 54
Mustangs 47 Cochranton 39
Wilmington 56 Mustangs 41
Kennedy Catholic 61 Mustangs 13
Mustangs 50 North East 35
Mustangs 53 Moniteau 28
*-Post-Season

Returning Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Brock Watson – 9.3
Rebounding: Jimmy Amon – 4.2
Assists: Brock Watson – 2.2
Field Goal Percentage: Jimmy Amon – 46.6%
Three-Point Percentage: Alex VanWoert – 36.4%
Free Throw Percentage: Marcus Ryder – 84.6%

2016-17 Schedule
Dec. 9 – Kiser Classic at Grove City
Dec. 10 – Kiser Classic at Grove City
Dec. 14 – Jamestown, 7:15
Dec. 15 – Cochranton, 7:15
Dec. 17 – at Hickory, 5:30
Dec. 20 – at Ellwood City (Lincoln), 7:30
Dec. 23 – West Middlesex, 7:15
Dec. 28 – Shenango (Mercer Christmas Tournament), 7:30
Dec. 29 – Mercer Christmas Tournament
Jan. 4 – Wilmington, 7:15
Jan. 6 – at Greenville, 7:30
Jan. 10 – at Lakeview, 7:15
Jan. 13 – Sharpsville, 7:15
Jan. 17 – Rocky Grove, 7:15
Jan. 20 – at Reynolds, 7
Jan. 24 – at West Middlesex, 7:15
Jan. 27 – at Wilmington, 7:30
Jan. 31 – Greenville, 7:15
Feb. 3 – Lakeview, 7:15
Feb. 7 – at Sharpsville, 7:15
Feb. 10 – at Rocky Grove, 7
Feb. 14 – Reynolds, 7:15

Key Returnees
Seniors Brock Watson (6’1) and Alex VanWoert (6’2) will both be relied on to improve on last year’s statistical figures. Watson averaged nearly 10 points a game (9.3) while hauling down 4.1 boards and dishing out 2.2 assists. VanWoert scored 4 points per game and grabbed 3.4 caroms. Snyder likes what he sees from these two. “They put a lot of their own time in the gym. They’re focused on basketball. They love the game.” Junior Jimmy Amon (6’3) scored 6 points per contest while shooting 47% from the floor (61-131). Jimmy’s classmates Marcus Ryder and Jordon Baker finished 1 and 2 on the team in free throw shooting last winter. Ryder made 11 of 13 shots from the charity stripe (84.6%) while Baker sank 15 of 19 (78.9%). Returning from a knee injury, senior Kyle Ricketts will hopefully be back around 100% for the beginning of the season. Ricketts averaged 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals as a junior.

Outlook
Last year, Mercer finished the season by posting just one win in their last eight contests. With the graduation of the team’s top scorer and rebounder from the past two seasons (Jake Schmid, who averaged 14.6 points and 5.3 rebounds as a senior), the Mustangs must find a way to produce points as last year’s group only averaged 43 points per game (42.8). “I look for all returning lettermen from last year to step up to fill the voids,” says coach Snyder.

Over the last eight seasons, Mercer has posted a 58-120 record (32.6%) with just one winning season (2013-14: 12-11). The Mustangs improved in many areas last year as they made their second trip to the District 10 playoffs in the last three years. “It’s going to be very important to stay focused all season,” states Snyder. “Especially, with 14 of the games being league (matchups). We want to build on last year’s 3-9 (conference) record. We’d love to see the Mercer basketball program get a playoff victory.”

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