By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
The Somerset Christian Cougars kicked off the 2012-2013 high school basketball season in a big way, as they came away with the championship trophy in the KCAA Tip-Off Classic this weekend at Somerset Christian’s Charlie Correll Memorial Gymnasium.
With a win on Friday night and another on Saturday morning, Shane Skaggs’ Cougars earned themselves a spot in the championship game of the tournament, where they went up against the Crusaders of Community Christian Academy.
Somerset Christian took their first lead of the game with 3:33 left in the contest, when a shot from Hunter Reed gave his team a one-point, 48-47 lead over the Crusaders. Reed’s basket followed a pair of shots from Daniel Ellenberg and Colby Alexander.
The Cougars continued to roll, as Jacob Ricks knocked down a three-pointer to allow them to run out to a 51-47 advantage. With 1:31 remaining in the game, Tanner Lewis made a spinning shot to make the score, 53-47. Lewis’ shot also pushed the Cougars run to 11 unanswered points.
Skaggs and company would hold on to win the game by five points at 56-51, making them the tournament champions, as well as, allowing them to move to a perfect 3-0 on the season.
“Win or lose, we found out a lot about our team,” stated Skaggs. “We may not always be great at times, but I know now that we can play from behind. I’m really proud of our guys and how hard they played tonight.”
The Cougar hoops coach is hoping this is one of many wins for his ball club.
“Any win you can get it great, but we’re more worried about winning at the end of the year,” Skaggs said.
Reed, who was named the most valuable player of the tournament, finished with a team-high 20 points. Ellenberg and Ricks joined Reed on the All-Tournament Team. Ellenberg had 14 points and Ricks had eight points.
Alexander tallied seven points, while Tyler Burton scored six points. Lewis finished with three points for the Cougars.
For the Crusaders, Austin Hensley led all scorers with 21 points. Matt Whitehead hit double digits with 12 points, while Tyler Turner finished with 11 points.
Somerset Christian overcame a rough opening quarter, along with some questionable calls, to survive the Crusaders.
“Obviously, you’re not going to get every call or bounce go your way,” told the Cougar head coach. “We overcame adversity and played from behind the whole game.”
The Crusaders controlled the game early on, as they ran out to a 17-9 advantage in the opening period of hoops action. At the half, Community Christian took a one-point, 28-27 lead into the locker room.
Somerset Christian was outscored by the Crusaders in the third quarter by a total of 16-13. The fourth quarter would different though, as the Cougars used a 10-0 run to win the ballgame.
The Cougars will return to action on Thursday evening, when they will travel to Monticello to face the Trojans. On Saturday, Somerset Christian will play their next home on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., when they will host Wesley Christian.
CCA 17 11 16 7 - 51
SCS 9 18 13 16 - 56
CCA (2-1): Hensley 21, Whitehead 12, Turner 11, Marcum 4, Jump 2, Wilson 1
SCS (3-0): Reed 20, Ellenberg 14, Ricks 8, Alexander 7, Burton 6, Lewis 3