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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Fall Fastbreak – Mercer

Mercer Mustangs
Boys
Coach (season, record): Doug Schmid (4th season, 15-51)
2011-12 overall record: 6-16
2011-12 region record (place): 2-8 (sixth)
2011-12 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top players lost: Billy Selders, Paul McCullough
Top returning players: Logan Clarke, Viktor Rymniak, Nate Guiler
Assistant coaches: Dan Weikal, Allen Kroll, Justin Glass
Outlook: Mercer is still looking to build its program in a tough Mercer County region. The Mustangs will have to replace Billy Selders and Paul McCullough, who graduated in the spring. Mercer has an emerging standout in Logan Clarke, a sophomore guard who led the Mustangs in scoring last year. Viktor Rymniak is also back along with Nate Guiler. Rymniak provides senior leadership and averaged 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year, while Guiler, a junior, had 9.2 ppg. The Mustangs could also receive big contributions from 6-6 senior Evan Nan. Mercer will need to start stringing together region wins to get back into the postseason mix this winter.

Schedule
December
7-8 Mercer tournament
12 Jamestown 7:30
14 at Kennedy Catholic 7:30
19 Rocky Grove 7:30
21 Reynolds* 7:30
January
3 at West Middlesex* 7:30
5 Sharpsville* 7:30
8 Greenville* 7:30
11 at Wilmington* 7:30
16 at Shenango 7:30
18 at Lakeview* 7:30
22 at Reynolds* 7:30
24 Northwestern 7:30
25 at Union City 7:30
29 West Middlesex* 7:30
February
1 at Sharpsville* 7:30
5 at Greenville* 7:30
8 Wilmington* 7:30
12 at Cochranton 7:30
13 at Commodore Perry 7:30
15 Lakeview* 7:30
*Region 2 games

Girls
Coach (season, record): Aaron Cook (2nd season, 6-16)
2011-12 overall record: 6-16
2011-12 region record (place): 4-8 (fifth)
2011-12 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top players lost: None
Top returning players: Analise Whenry, Ashley Ryder, Lexie Arkwright, Megan McKinney, Alexis Mills, Adelyn Cook
Assistant coaches: Crystal Angermeier, Amber Whenry, Dan Weikal
Outlook: Mercer could sneak up on a few teams this year in the Region 2 standings. The Mustangs return everyone from last year’s team, which won six games. Mercer will be loaded with talent, incuding the return of Analise Whenry, Ashley Ryder, Lexie Arkwright, Megan McKinney, Alexis Mills and Adelyn Cook. Whenry and Ryder are senior forwards, while Arkwright, McKinney and Mills are returning juniors. Cook provides depth as a sophomore and could work her way into plenty of varsity minutes as the season goes on. Mercer has experience, speed and athleticism but height could be an issue. The Mustangs can overcome their height disadvantage with smart basketball and if it can develop more depth, Mercer could be in the hunt for the playoff spot in February.

Schedule
December
7-8 Mohawk tournament
11 Grove City 7:30
13 at Farrell 7:30
20 at Reynolds 7:30
27-28 Hickory tournament
January
3 at Commodore Perry 7:30
4 at West Middlesex* 7:30
7 Wilmington* 7:30
10 Lakeview* 7:30
12 Reynolds 7:30
14 Greenville* 7:30
17 at Sharon* 7:30
21 Sharpsville* 7:30
25 Rocky Grove 7:30
28 West Middlesex* 7:30
31 at Wilmington* 7:30
February
4 at Lakeview* 7:30
6 at Greenville* 7:30
11 Sharon* 7:30
14 at Sharpsville* 7:30
*Region 2 games

Saturday: Mercyhurst Prep

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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