By LARRY VAUGHT
Defending a state championship is never easy. But Mercer County encountered a problem Thursday that coach Chris Souder could never have anticipated.
His team won its fourth straight 12th Region Tournament last week and then opened state tourney play with a victory over a very, very good Murray.
The Titans play Owensboro Catholic today but after watching part of the state tournament Thursday night, the team ran into a major problem at the Embassy Suites — the coaches and players got stuck in an elevator.
“Hopefully we will make the game! We are currently stuck in an elevator at the hotel. Going on an hour now!” Souder posted on Twitter at 10:45 p.m.
A few minutes later he posted that 17 were stuck in the elevator.
“A little warm in here but they are having fun. Definitely a memory,” Souder tweeted just a few minutes later.
They finally got out about 11 p.m. — 30 minutes after Souder had planned for the players to be in bed to get ready for Friday’s game at noon.
“The last 15 or 20 minutes, they got the door open enough to get a fan and get us some air,” Souder said. “They stuck some water bottles in there but a lot of the girls wouldn’t drink it even though it was really hot in there because they had to go to the bathroom.
“The hotel had to call the elevator company to come because they did not have the authority to do anything. It took him over an hour to get there and then he stuck a screwdriver in a hole to open the door. Luckily it stuck between the first and second floor.”
Wasn’t it crowded with 17 on an elevator?
“We had been doing it all week,” Souder said. “Remember, a lot of these girls are not real big. We actually could have probably get a couple more on there.”
The only starter not on the elevator was senior Seygan Robins, the team’s top scorer and University of Louisville signee.
“Maybe she was the only smart one,” Souder joked.
The coach stayed remarkably calm considering what is at stake for his team this weekend.
“There was no sense getting excited,” he said. “Might as well have fun. They will definitely be talking about this forever. We got our practice in at Xavier, went and ate, and then watched some of the tournament. We were just coming back to get everyone in bed when this happened. But they still have time to get plenty of rest before breakfast and then get ready to play. It’s just one of those things you never plan on but just have to make the best of.”