BY DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
By going 9-3 to start the season, first-year Somerset head coach Jeff Cothron has had his club off to a nice run, making the purple and gold one of the top feel-good stories in the 12th Region over the first half of the season.
However on Sunday night in the consolation game of the inaugural Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic, it was a run by the North Hardin Trojans to close out the first half that cost Somerset an opportunity for a third-place finish in the tourney, falling to North Hardin by a 59-48 score.
Somerset led this one from the outset 18-14, however when senior center Ryan Weddle was sent to the bench with his second foul in the early moments of the second quarter, the Trojans took full advantage.
After falling behind Somerset by that 18-14 score, North Hardin finished the first half with a 17-4 run to take a 31-22 lead into the intermission, forcing Cothron’s club to play from behind for the remainder of the contest.
“Ryan has got to learn to stay out of foul trouble,” lamented coach Cothron, after his club dropped its second game in a row in the tourney to fall to 9-4 on the year.
“We’re still learning and our guards have struggled at times in trying to learn to play the way we want to play,” added the Somerset coach.
The Jumpers -- fresh off an 83-56 loss to arch-rival Southwestern the night before in the semi finals -- came out in Sunday afternoon’s consolation game and took the action straight to an athletic and long North Hardin team down in the paint.
Establishing Weddle and fellow senior Tyson Williams down on the low blocks early on, the Jumpers were in great shape early leading the Trojans by that 18-14 score, but that’s when things went south and in a hurry for the Briar Jumpers.
With Weddle on the bench with those two quick fouls, North Hardin went on that 17-4 spurt, thanks in large measure to the play of guard Tyronn King.
King scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the opening half of play, helping his club roar all the way back for a 31-22 lead at halftime -- a deficit Somerset would not be able to overcome on this particular afternoon.
“We’re still in a learning process, and for us to get through this month and this tournament playing the level of competition that we’ve gone up against and to be 9-4 on the year -- I’m pretty happy about that,” Cothron stated.
Tyson Williams meanwhile was a bright spot in defeat for Somerset, scoring a game-high 20 points while pulling down eight boards.
Weddle tallied 15 points and ripped down a game-high 12 boards, but it would not be enough to propel Somerset back into the lead after the intermission.
The Jumpers cut the deficit down to four points late in the third quarter, but North Hardin would respond.
Guard Ruben Gosa tallied 10 of his 15 points in the second half, helping the Trojans eventually build up a 53-38 lead late in the contest.
With the loss Somerset fell to 9-4 on the season, but the experience of playing four games in four days is something that Cothron is hopeful his club will be able to build upon over the second half the season as well as post-season play.
“Playing in a tournament like this is good for us, and that’s exactly what I told our kids immediately after the game,” pointed out the Jumper head coach.
Somerset -- now 9-4 on the year -- returns to action this afternoon with a 47th District game on the road at Rockcastle County.
The Briar Jumpers will return to Southwestern on Thursday night for a rematch against the Warriors.
That game is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m.
NH -- 11 20 12 16 -- 59
SHS -- 12 10 12 14 -- 48
NORTH HARDIN -- King 15, Gosa 15, Sterusky 14, Rasheed 6, Landry 5, Lewis 4.
SOMERSET -- Williams 20, Weddle 15, Gordon 9, Cheuvront 2, R. Dishman 2