By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Somerset Christian had themselves a strong showing at this weekend’s KCAA State Tournament, finishing as state runner-up.
After picking up victories over Cornerstone Christian and North Hardin Christian in their first two rounds of play, the Cougars advanced to the championship game of the tournament, where they fell to Community Christian.
To begin the tournament, Kirk Stickley and company earned a 57-49 victory over the Bulldogs of Cornerstone Christian. The eight-point win over the Bulldogs came on Friday evening at Asbury University.
In the quarterfinal win, Hunter Reed paved the way for Somerset Christian with a double-double, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Jacob Ricks chimed in with 14 points and 9 assists, while Colby Alexander hit double figures with 13 points.
“It was an intense game, neither team could put a run together,” began Stickley. “In the end we didn't turn the ball over and we hit our free throws. That was the difference.”
Thanks to a game-winning shot from Brandon Eades, the Cougars picked up a 70-69, overtime victory over the North Hardin Christian Falcons. The one-point semifinal victory allowed Somerset Christian to punch their tickets to the finals.
Alexander poured in a team-high 25 points and had 8 rebounds, while Reed had 19 points, 13 boards, and 4 assists. Ricks chimed in with 14 points in the semifinal win over North Hardin Christian.
“I knew when Brandon Eades got the ball in the corner and was set to shoot, that it was going to go in,” Stickley added. “Having a large group of seniors was the difference in overtime – they didn't rattle and they fought every second. Jon Pope played his heart out. It was a game that will be talked about among the parents, fans, and ball players for years. It was a fun game to coach and watch.”
The championship game would not as be as kind as the first two games of the tournament were, as the Community Christian Crusaders came away with a 64-51 win over the Cougars to claim the KCAA state championship trophy.
Ricks led the charge for Somerset Christian with 21 points and 9 rebounds, while Reed finished with 14 points and 5 boards. Devin Mayne scored 8 points in the loss, while Alexander finished with 7 points.
“We played (Community) hard for three quarters,” told the SCS head coach. “We had the lead several times, but when the 4th quarter started I prayed that our strength and our legs would hold up. We didn't have anyone in major foul trouble, if we just could keep the fatigue away the title would be ours.”
Somerset Christian racked up several awards at this weekend’s state tournament.
The duo of Ricks and Reed were named to the KCAA State Tournament All-Tournament Team. As a part of the “Bubby Napier” Awards, Reed was a First Team All-State selection. The pair of Ricks and Alexander were chosen to the team as Second Team All-State selections.
Reed claimed the biggest award of all for the 2013-14 season, being named KCAA Mr. Basketball. The Cougar became the first-ever player in Somerset Christian history to ever earn the prestigious award.
Somerset Christian athletic director Guy Crubaugh was thrilled to see Reed, who will play in the KCAA All-Star Game, earn the KCAA Mr. Basketball award.
“This young man (Hunter Reed) is extremely deserving of the KCAA Mr. Basketball award – he represents what is best about our school and athletic program,” stated Crubaugh. “He is truly an outstanding person both on and off the court.”
Crubaugh is more than happy to have Stickley as a part of the Somerset Christian basketball program.
“Coach Stickley is an exceptional coach and example to our students,” stated the SCS athletic director. “His steady leadership and unwavering commitment to his players has been inspirational. He is a truly gifted coach and we are extremely fortunate to have him at SCS."
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter: @GetChili22
SCS – 14 17 12 8 – 51
COM – 20 10 15 19 – 64
SOMERSET CHRISTIAN: Ricks 21, Reed 14, Mayne 8, Alexander 7, Pope 1
NHC – 12 10 23 18 6 – 69
SCS – 13 9 15 26 7 – 70
SOMERSET CHRISTIAN: Alexander 25, Reed 19, Ricks 14, Eades 4, Lewis 3, Mayne 2, Bradshaw 2, Pope 1
CORN – 11 11 15 12 – 49
SCS – 11 16 15 15 – 57
SOMERSET CHRISTIAN: Reed 24, Ricks 14, Alexander 13, Lewis 2, Pope 2, Mayne 2