By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
When the Southwestern Warriors have the inside and outside game rolling at the same time, Steve Wright’s club can play with anybody.
Last night at The Wigwam in a rematch between two arch rivals, the Warriors got it done from both the paint and from long-range, however a pesky Somerset team would not go away.
Somerset’s Ryan Dishman led everybody with a game-high 30 points, and led the Jumpers with six made three-point baskets in the contest.
As a team, the Jumpers drained 11 treys in Tuesday night’s encounter with the Warriors, but it wouldn’t be enough, as Southwestern moved to 21-4 on the season with an 82-65 win over Somerset, in a game that saw the Warriors bid a fond farewell to Justin Edwards and Robbie Miller on Senior Night.
“Those two guys have done a lot of good things,” stated Wright, after his team’s victory last night.
“I’m awfully proud of Robbie and I’m awfully proud of Justin,” continued the Southwestern coach. “Justin’s been in a situation where he’s always been on a very good team and been very blessed. Golly, he’s been on every all-tournament team that you can think of. He’ll probably end up breaking some records here at the school before it’s all over. He’s really been a fun guy to coach as has Robbie, and they’re just a couple of guys that are fun to be around every day.”
Indeed, the tandem of Edwards, along with junior center Dylan Gaskin, jump-started the Warriors out of the gate strong last night.
Gaskin poured in a team-high 21 points, while Edwards added 20 points, which included a 10 for 11 night from the charity stripe.
Thanks to that duo doing some big-time damage in the paint, the Warriors raced out to an early, 9-2 lead over the Briar Jumpers, and maintained that lead throughout the first half, leading Somerset 41-29 at the intermission.
However, Somerset would not go away on this particular evening.
Ryan Dishman and Landon Powell led the charge for Somerset from downtown, as that duo accounted for 10 of Somerset’s 11 treys in the contest.
A Powell three-pointer late in the first half trimmed Southwestern’s lead down to just six points at 32-26, but a pair of free throws from Edwards late in the opening half gave the Warriors that 41-29 lead over the Briar Jumpers at the intermission.
That lead grew to as many as 16 points in the third period, despite the fact that Ryan Dishman was putting his team on his back.
The Somerset senior guard scored the Jumpers first 10 points of the third stanza, but thanks to the big night’s from Edwards and Gaskin, Southwestern stretched the lead out to that 16-point margin on multiple occasions, but the Jumpers refused to fold.
Somerset went on a modest, 14-4 run late in the third stanza and in the early stages of the fourth quarter to get back off the canvas.
After Dishman nailed back to back treys to begin the final frame, Somerset had trimmed 10 points off that lofty deficit, only trailing the Warriors by a 64-58 margin, forcing Southwestern to call a timeout . Simply put, there was absolutely no quit in a Somerset team that fell to .500 on the season with Tuesday night’s loss, falling to 13-13 on the season.
“I’m really proud of our guys with how they played tonight, because they battled from the word go,” stated Somerset head coach Jeff Cothron immediately following the contest.
“We told them ahead of time that there would be runs in this game — some would go their (Southwestern) way, and some would go our way,” Cothron added. “We just had to fight through them. They never did get their head down, and there was not an ounce of quit in them. And for that, I can’t how proud I am of my team tonight.”
With Somerset right back in this one — trailing the Warriors by that 64-58 margin — it was Edwards’ turn to put his team on his back over the next couple of minutes, which is exactly what he did.
The Southwestern senior scored his first two baskets of the second half on back to back possessions coming out of that timeout extending the Warrior lead back out to double figures at 68-58.
From that point on, Somerset would get no closer in this one.
“Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job tonight,” stated coach Wright. “Somerset shoots the ball so well that they are difficult to guard.”
“We did a pretty good job of it tonight,” added the Warrior coach. “We had three or four 15 to 16-point leads tonight and lost some of that but that’s part of the game. The fact that we played on Friday and played so well, you almost expect to not play that well which is bad. We played pretty well tonight and did a lot of good things, but we can play better than that.”
Aside from the big night’s from Gaskin and Edwards, Southwestern also got an extremely efficient night from its backcourt, with Adam Isaacs scoring 11 points in the victory while Hunter Cromer added 10.
Somerset meanwhile also got a big lift from freshman Brandon Lindsey with 12 points, but of the Jumpers 65 points in Tuesday’s contest — they came from only four players — Ryan Dishman with his game-high of 30 points, Powell with 18, Lindsey with 12, and Tyler Dishman tallied five points.
Still, Cothron says that even though his club is disappointed with the setback, he will take the kind of effort his club played with last night from now until the end of the season.
“I’ll take that kind of effort from my team in the post season, roll the ball out on the floor, and let the chips fall where they fall,” pointed out the Somerset head coach.
“The kind of effort my kids gave tonight is all you can ask for as a coach,” Cothron added. “They played with energy, intensity, and effort — they brought all of those things tonight. As a coach, you can’t ask for anything else.”
Southwestern will return to action on Thursday night on the road at Mercer County, before hosting Hopkinsville on Saturday afternoon at The Wigwam in the Warriors regular season finale.
Somerset meanwhile will close out the regular season on Friday night on the road at Estill County.
SHS — 15 14 21 15 — 65
SW — 19 22 19 22 — 82
Somerset — R. Dishman 30, Powell 18, Lindsey 12, T. Dishman 5.
Southwestern — Gaskin 21, Edwards 20, Isaacs 11, Cromer 10, Butt 9, Fitzgerald 5, Miller 2, Phelps 2, Cundiff 2.