Three overtime losses separate the Plymouth High School boys basketball team from an undefeated record going into Class 3A sectional play next week.
"I think we learned something from all of those losses," said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales. "They were frustrating because of one or two things here or there, and we could have won all three of those games. They were teaching moments, though."
In the middle of Plymouth's success is Mack Mercer, a 6-9 junior who is averaging a team-leading 20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots.
"He's had a really nice season," Bales said. "He's been a force around the basket on both ends of the court."
Mercer is shooting 64 percent inside the 3-point arc and 38 percent (21-for-56) outside it.
"That's something that really came along in the spring and summer," Bales said of Mercer's outside shooting. "He always had a good shot from about 15 feet, but he was pretty much limited to the paint for us. Now he can step out and hit that outside shot."
Bales said the schools that have been most consistent in recruiting Mercer this season are Belmont, Boston College and Indiana State. The latter two have offered scholarships, as well as Ball State, Kent State, Rice and Vermont. Coaches from Clemson, Notre Dame and Valparaiso have been in this season.
"A lot of coaches have said they want to see him more this spring and summer," Bales said. "There are a lot of positives about him that coaches like. They just need to see him a little more."
Plymouth (17-3) hosts the sectional next week. The Pilgrims open with Jimtown (7-12), then would likely face Mishawaka Marian (10-9) in a semifinal game. Marian, which made it to the semistate last year, is led by , a McDonald's All-American and Notre Dame recruit.
Guerin Catholic junior Aaron Brennan picked up an offer from Loyola (Ill.) this week. The 6-6 Brennan also has offers from IUPUI, Indiana State, Toledo and UNC-Greensboro. ... Pike senior G Taishaun Johnson will attend prep school next year and reclassify to the 2014 graduating class. Johnson is averaging a team-leading 20.0 points for the 4A third-ranked Red Devils. ... Mooresville junior F Jacob Johnson visited Indiana State this week. Eastern Kentucky was in to watch him Thursday. ... Cincinnati was in to watch Cathedral junior G Jalen Coleman this week.