By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
Rowan County head coach Shawn Thacker is accustomed to winning games at the Briar Patch.
As the former coach of the Somerset Briar Jumpers, Thacker won numerous games inside the friendly confines of the small gym.
On Saturday night, as the current Rowan County head coach, Thacker led his Vikings to a 68-63 victory over the Jumpers in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic on Saturday night at the Briar Patch.
Jeff Cothron, the head coach of the Jumpers, was upset with the loss, but extremely pleased with how hard his team played in the five-point loss.
“That was a tough one to swallow. I hated it for the boys more than anything because of how hard they fought tonight. It was a much better effort all-around for the boys tonight. Hopefully we’ll get better from it and learn a few things.”
The Vikings got out to a good start this one thanks to the hot shooting of Ryne Callahan, who knocked down three-pointer after three-pointer in the opening frame. Somerset would bounce back though, leading the Vikings, 19-13, after one quarter in the books.
Rowan County got the best of the Jumpers in the second frame, outscoring the home team by a 22-16 margin. Daniel Coldiron carried Somerset with 7 points in the second period of action.
Thanks to a half-court buzzer beater from freshman Landon Powell, Somerset and Rowan County both went into locker room at halftime with the score knotted up at 35-35.
Neither squad could seem to up the other in the third stanza, as both teams tallied 12 points apiece. Heading into the fourth quarter of action, Somerset and Rowan County were tied up at 47-47.
The Vikings jumped out to an early 50-47 lead in the frame after another Callahan trey, but Michael Dobbs’ ‘and one’ conversion would tie the game back up, this time at 50-50. The Jumpers would later grab a three-point lead over Rowan County, but Callahan knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game up at 56 apiece with 5:39 left to play.
Jerry Pollite made a pair of free-throws and hit a lay-up to break a 58-58 tie, giving the Vikings a four-point, 62-58 advantage over Somerset. After a trey from Ryan Dishman cut the lead to a lone point, Pollite scored again, bringing the Rowan County out to 3 points at 64-61 with 2:00 left in the contest.
Rowan County would seal the victory at the free-throw line, allowing them to escape the Briar Patch with a 68-63 win over the Jumpers.
The Vikings were led by the hot hand of Callahan, who finished a game-high 27 points in the win. Larry Whelan scored 14 points, while Tyler Thacker chimed in with 10 points.
R. Dishman was Somerset’s leading scorer on the night, pouring in 20 points. Dobbs hit double figures in the game, finishing with 10 points. Powell, who finished with 9 points, had a team-high 7 rebounds.
RC – 13 22 12 21 – 68
SHS – 19 16 12 16 – 63
ROWAN COUNTY (7-3): Callahan 27, Whelan 14, Thacker 10, Pollite 9, Graham 6, Pratt 2.