The Linn County boys won an exciting homecoming game against Keytesville on Friday night to break a four-game non-tournament skid, but fell the next evening to a 10-3 Mercer squad, 68-54, to drop the Mustangs to 8-5.
On Friday night, the Mustangs capitalized on Keytesville turnovers to take an 18-14 lead by the conclusion of the first quarter. Linn County was out-rebounded early in the game, but mitigated damage by capitalizing on high-percentage inside looks.
"We watched some film this week and made some adjustments," Linn County coach Jason White said. "That showed against Keytesville, we played better defense and moved the ball better. We had some inside-outside balance. We have the players to make it happen inside, we just don't get it down there.
"We're quick, we just don't always show it."
Linn County led Keytesville 34-28 at the half, and stretched its lead to 14 points by the end of the third quarter. The Mustangs won 73-56 on Friday night.
Mustang forward Chadley Waltz said that his team corrected some mistakes on Friday night that had been the source of his team's woes in the past handful of games.
"We started playing better defense and our bench got into it a lot more, that helped us," the junior said. "We played smart and didn't pick up stupid fouls early on."
Against Keytesville, Jase White led the Mustangs with 25 points.
Michael O'Kane, Chadley Waltz, and Kade Ward were all in double-figures in scoring as well with respective tallies of 16, 15, and 12 points.
"They went on a couple of runs, and we couldn't end their runs when we needed to," Keytesville coach Dustin Figg said. "They're a very good team, and we matched up well, but we let the tempo get away from us at times."
By the time of this publication, the second-seed Mustangs will have played Tina-Avalon in the opening round of the Meadville Invitational Tournament.