By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
After two tough losses earlier in the week to Danville and Russell County, the Somerset Lady Jumpers returned to The Briar Patch on Friday night for the regular season finale, taking on Monticello.
On an evening when Erin Walker’s club said good-bye to Jessica Wallace, Bethany Edwards, and Erica Ford on senior night, the Lady Jumpers ended the regular season in impressive fashion.
While Somerset was ending the season with senior night festivities, it was a sophomore that stole the show for the Lady Jumpers.
Guard Maranda Mills scored a game-high 26 points, helping break open a close game early in the second half, sending the three seniors out on a positive note with an impressive, 59-43 victory.
“We didn’t play our best first half of basketball tonight,” stated Walker, after her team ended the regular season with a 12-16 mark.
“I told our team that just because we might win this game tonight, that doesn’t mean we have momentum,” Walker continued. “I told them we needed to come out with some energy and make that carry over into next week.”
Whatever coach Walker told her troops at halftime certainly worked.
Somerset led Monticello 29-23 at the intermission, and were going to have to go the rest of the way without leading scorer Virginia Scott.
Scott took an elbow to the head late in the first half and never returned to the contest, but Maranda Mills more than picked up the slack for the Lady Jumpers.
Mills scored four points in the opening half of play, however the sophomore guard exploded in the second half.
Of the 19 points the Lady Jumpers scored in the third period, Mills accounted for 17 of those, helping Somerset extend its six-point halftime lead out to 48-32 heading into the fourth quarter of play, finally putting a pesky Lady Trojan team down for the count.
“Maranda was getting her hands on the ball defensively, which led to a lot of layups,” pointed out Walker in talking about the third quarter explosion by her sophomore guard.
“She’s the most athletic player that we have on this team, and when she has that kind of mindset, she’s just hard to stop,” stated the SHS coach.
With the win over the Lady Trojans, Somerset finished the regular season with a 12-16 record on the year, but Walker says her club will take some much-needed confidence into this week’s 47th District Tournament, when the Lady Jumpers will face always tough Rockcastle County on Thursday night at The Briar Patch in the opening round of the tourney.
“We feel good going into the tournament,” stated Walker. “We’ve got five days to prepare, and we’ll work hard this week.”
“We beat them (Rockcastle County) once this year so that helps with our psyche,” remarked Walker. “We know things that we’ve got to work on and we’ve been refining some things. We just hope that Jenny (Virginia Scott) is not down for too long.”
The Somerset—Rockcastle County game will be the second game of a doubleheader on Thursday evening.
In the first game of the Girl’s 47th District Tournament, which will tip off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Pulaski County Lady Maroons will face Casey County.
The two winners will meet in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
MHS 7 16 9 11 — 43
SHS 19 10 19 11 — 59
MONTICELLO — McLean 14, Bell 12, Peyton 10, Duncan 7.
SOMERSET — Mills 26, Edwards 12, Brooks 8, Scott 5, Bigelow 4, Wallace 2, Johnson 2.