By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
The Pulaski County Maroons rolled into The Briar Patch on Friday night and put a big-time ‘Hurt’ on the Somerset Briar Jumpers.
Pulaski County’s Taylor Hurt hit a huge three-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation last night bringing the Maroons back from the dead, knotting things up against homestanding Somerset at 53-53.
Thanks to Hurt’s third trey of the contest that knotted things up at the end by that 53-53 score, Al Gover and crew rode that momentum into a hard-fought, 60-58 victory over Somerset in overtime last night, claiming the top spot in the 47th District with a 5-1 record in league play, and a 14-9 mark overall.
It was Hurt that got PC off and rolling early on, as the junior forward hit a pair of treys in the first couple of minutes propelling the Maroons out to a quick, 11-3 lead.
However, moments later Hurt was assessed his third foul of the game, and didn’t return to the lineup until the midway mark of the third period.
And, he didn’t score again until crunch time when his team needed him the most — his third trey of the night that tied things up at 53-53, setting up Pulaski for an opportunity to win this affair in overtime, which is exactly what Gover and company was able to do.
“When you think of Taylor Hurt you just think of perseverance,” stated a very happy Al Gover after his club’s come from behind win.
“I don’t think he ever made the team in junior high in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade,” added the Pulaski County coach. “Here he is contributing to the varsity team, and you’ve got to hand it to a kid like that. He could have pouted — that seems to be the way of the world these days — but man he’s been tough. He’s played his way through it and he’s fought for a spot. Now he’s contributing in a big way and I’m very proud of him.”
Indeed, it was Hurt that got PC off and running with that quick, 11-3 advantage, but Somerset would come roaring back, thanks to shooting the lights out from behind the three-point line.
Ryan Dishman — who led everybody with a game-high 22 points — hit two of his three treys in the opening half, helping the Jumpers erase that eight-point deficit to PC finally claiming the lead.
The SHS senior guard scored 14 of his 22 points in the opening half, while his teammate Landon Powell also got it done from downtown.
Powell — who played yet another stellar game off the Somerset bench with 12 points — also hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening half, helping to give Somerset a slim, 30-29 lead over Pulaski at the intermission.
Somerset gradually built that lead up to as much as nine points in the third quarter — thanks in large part to lighting it up from downtown, along with the fact that PC couldn’t seemingly buy a basket in the third quarter of play.
The Jumpers led the Maroons 44-35 through three quarters, but Somerset couldn’t hold that lead thanks to a very poor shooting night from the charity stripe, hitting on only 10 of 19 free throw attempts for the game.
“It’s unfortunate and I feel bad for our kids because they’re really putting the burden on themselves for missing the free throws,” pointed out Somerset head coach Jeff Cothron after the game.
“They just didn’t go in tonight,” added the Jumper coach. “Ryan Dishman is shooting 87 percent from the free throw line for the year, and you get on him for missing them tonight? No way — he played his butt off. They just didn’t get in tonight. That was big especially coming down the stretch.”
Indeed, Ryan Dishman has been almost automatic all year long from the charity stripe, but last night against PC he made only 6 of 10 free throw attempts.
Tyler Dishman — another outstanding shooter — was only 1 of 5 on Friday evening from the free throw line, and PC took advantage of Somerset’s shooting woes from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, pulling itself off the mat.
Peyton Gover — who was held in check by Somerset for most of the evening — hit arguably the biggest shot of the game for PC other than Hurt’s three at the end of regulation with 1:47 remaining in the game.
That three-pointer brought the Maroons to within a deuce of Somerset at 50-48, but on the next trip downcourt, Ryan Dishman’s drive down the left baseline eased that lead back out to 52-48.
Riley Hall — playing in his first game in 10 days due to an ankle sprain — scored on Pulaski’s next trip down the floor bringing the Maroons to within two points yet again of the Jumpers — 52-50.
On Somerset’s next trip, Tyler Dishman was fouled and made only the front end of the one and one, giving Somerset a 53-50 lead.
That set up Hurt for the chance to knot this one up, which is exactly what he did with a big-time three-pointer at crunch time, tying the game at 53-53 in the final seconds.
On the inbounds pass, Somerset’s Kenny Spear was fouled with :02 left in regulation, but he missed the front end of the bonus, Pulaski’s Sean Ross pulled down the rebound, and this game went to overtime.
“I’m really proud of our team because they’re showing patience and they’re showing maturity,” pointed out coach Gover.
“We got down nine there in the third quarter, and again in the fourth quarter with about five or six minutes to go, and they stayed patient, they kept working to get a good shot, and they didn’t panic,” remarked the PC coach. “I saw some really good execution out of our team tonight. Win or lose that game, I was going to be really pleased because how we battled and how hard we fought.”
To begin the overtime, Ross got the opening tip giving the Maroons possession of the basketball.
And the Maroons took the lead for good with that opportunity.
Blake Burton drove to the basket and completed an old-fashioned three-point play, giving PC a 56-53 lead with only 2:26 left in the contest.
Later in the OT period, reserve Brett Phelps came up with a clutch basket, extending the Maroons lead out to 58-54 with less than a minute to play.
Somerset came right back, thanks to Powell’s three-point play that trimmed the deficit down to 58-57 with just :38 left in the game.
From that point on, this one came down to free throws.
With :04 left in the game, it was Hall that calmly went to the charity stripe hitting both of his free throw attempts giving PC a 60-57 lead, and the Maroons would escape The Briar Patch with a 60-58 victory, after Ryan Dishman hit one of two free throw attempts with just :1.9 left in the game.
“I just told our team that I can’t fault my kids one bit for the effort and the intensity, and the way they fought tonight,” stated Cothron, after his club fell to 11-11 on the year with the loss.
“Our rebounding tonight was much better than the two previous games that we had played PC this year,” remarked the SHS coach. “As long as we can keep the rebounding close with them, that gives us a chance, and it did tonight. It was one of those games where we just couldn’t knock down our free throws.”
Pulaski County — weather permitting — is set to return to action tonight at The PC Gym at 7:30 p.m. against Danville.
Somerset meanwhile, will be off for a few days before traveling to Wayne County next Tuesday night to take on the Cardinals.
PC — 13 16 6 18 7 — 60
SHS — 11 19 14 9 5 — 58
PULASKI CO. — Ross 13, Burton 11, Hall 9, Hurt 9, Gover 9, Clark 5, Ridner 2, Phelps 2.
SOMERSET — R. Dishman 23, Powell 12, T. Dishman 9, Coomer 8, Purcell 2, Spear 2, Coldiron 2.