By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Southwestern and Somerset met up for the third time of the 2012-13 high school basketball season last night.
And for the third time this season, it was the Southwestern Warriors coming away with the victory over the Somerset Briar Jumpers, as a strong third quarter allowed the ‘Blue and Orange’ to earn an 80-45 win at Briar Patch.
With the 35-point victory, Steve Wright’s Warriors upped their record to 17-6 on the year, allowing them to bounce back from a 90-64 loss to Henry Clay that occurred on Saturday in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic at Montgomery County.
“Overall, I thought we were active defensively,” began Wright, who is in his second year at Southwestern. “We rebounded the ball well and moved it around well. I felt like we had a good week of practice, and I felt like we would see that on the court.”
Southwestern went into the locker room with a seven-point, 30-23 lead at the intermission. After trailing by as much as 13 points in the first period, the Jumpers went on a 12-2 run in the second quarter to get to within five points.
Somerset outscored the Warriors, 14-10, in the second frame, but a strong start by the Warriors, which included a 13-0 spurt in the opening frame, kept the Jumpers from grabbing the lead with the big run in the quarter. Southwestern took advantage of seven Somerset turnovers to a 20-7 first quarter advantage.
Five points would be as close as the homestanding Jumpers would get for the rest of the contest, as Southwestern outscored the Jumpers by a total of 50-22 in the second half. The Warriors took the third frame by a total of 22-13, and then the fourth quarter by a 28-9 margin.
The strong second half would allow the Warriors to escape the Briar Patch with a 35-point victory over Somerset. Southwestern’s victory was the third against the Jumpers this season, as they won the first two match-ups by scores of 83-56 and 67-61.
Jumper head coach Jeff Cothron attributed much of his team’s trouble to playing two consecutive cross-town rivalry games in a row. Somerset played Pulaski County in a 47th District meeting on Tuesday night, and then played the Warriors last night.
“I didn’t think we played near to our capability - we just didn’t have it tonight,” Cothron said. “We showed some fight there in the second quarter, when we got down by 13 points and cut it down to five. I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s tough to play two rival games back-to-back because of all the emotion involved - it’s tough to do.”
“Southwestern is a tough match-up for us, and they played well, particularly in the second half.”
Warrior sophomore Isaiah Collier got off to a rough start in the contest, air-balling his first shot attempt of that night. That shot would be the only blemish on the night for Collier, as he simply went off in the second half, scoring 20 of his 24 points in the final two quarters.
The Warrior head coach was pleased with the play of Collier, who didn’t start the game for Southwestern.
“(Isaiah’s) really matured,” Wright stated. “He didn’t start tonight, but came off of the bench and showed a lot of maturity. He didn’t play well real early, then he regrouped. I’m really proud of the week he’s had.”
Collier led all scorers with a game-high 24 points.
Along with Collier, three other Southwestern players finished in double figures. Justin Edwards, who had a club-high six rebounds, chimed in with 17 points, while David Kapinga added 11 and Adam Isaacs finished with 10.
Somerset was led in scoring by Matt Gordon, who scored 14 points in the loss. 12 of Gordon’s 14 points came in the second half, with nine of them coming in the fourth and final period of action.
Big man Tyson Williams had a double-double for the Jumpers, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 boards. Ryan Dishman was right behind Williams, tallying 12 points in the contest.
Turnovers made a difference in the game, as Somerset turned the ball over 24 times, while the Warriors committed nine miscues.
At the charity stripe, the Warriors went 16 of 21, while Somerset made two of their nine free-throw attempts.
Somerset, who is now 14-8 on the season, will host the Wayne County Cardinals on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Briar Patch in a 12th Region match-up.
The Warriors will return to action this afternoon, hosting the Lincoln County Patriots at 5:30 p.m. at the Wigwam.
SW - 20 10 22 28 - 80
SHS - 7 14 13 9 - 45
SOUTHWESTERN (17-6): Collier 24, Edwards 17, Kapinga 11, Isaacs 10, Schulz 8, Gaskin 6, Estes 2, Hansford 2.
SOMERSET (14-8): Gordon 14, Williams 13, Dishman 12, Coomer 2, Weddle 2, Cheuvront 2.