Could five days really make that much of a difference?
You bet they could.
Over the weekend, the Somerset Briar Jumpers met up against homestanding Southwestern in the semi finals of the inaugural Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Tournament, and promptly got taken to the woodshed thanks to a 27-point loss.
Last night at Southwestern’s Wigwam in a rematch, the Briar Jumpers gave the Warriors all they wanted — and then some.
However, even that wouldn’t be enough for Jeff Cothron’s club to pick up a ‘W’ last night.
Ryan Dishman poured in a game-high 27 points helping Somerset lead from the opening tap all the way to the fourth quarter.
However, in a decisive final period, it was the Warriors making just enough plays to roar back for a hard-fought, 67-61 win over the Briar Jumpers.
“We’re all hurting in the locker room after this one, because we were right there and we had a chance to win this one,” stated Cothron, after his club fell to 10-5 on the year. “When all is said and done, right now is not when it matters. What this did prove to them (Southwestern) and to everybody else is that we can play with anybody.”
Early on, this one was all Somerset.
Ryan Dishman came out on fire, outscoring the Warriors by himself in the opening stanza.
Dishman drilled three treys in the first period on his way to 19 points in the frame, helping Somerset grab a 25-17 lead after one quarter of play.
With big man Tyson Williams limited by being saddled with two early fouls, the Jumpers maintained control of this one despite having to go without their big guy on the inside.
Aside from Ryan Dishman’s first quarter explosion, the Jumpers got a solid effort from Cam Cheuvront with 14 points.
A Cheuvront layup late in the third period extended Somerset’s lead back out to double digits at 47-37, but Southwestern would respond with an 11-2 run to end the frame, cutting the Somerset lead to a single point, 49-48 headed into the fourth quarter.
In a decisive fourth quarter, Southwestern completed its comeback behind the tandem of Justin Edwards and Dylan Gaskin.
Gaskin scored all six of his points in the final stanza — coming on putbacks of missed shots — while Edwards scored nine of his team-high 21 points in the final frame as well.
“We were a little flat-footed early on, and we got off to a rough start defensively and didn’t take care of some of our coverages,” stated Southwestern head coach Steve Wright, who saw his club improve to 13-3 with the victory.
“We had a good second quarter that got us back into the game, and then we had a gutcheck there at the end of the third quarter and we responded to it,” Wright added. “This was a good gut-check game for us, because we were challenged and we responded to it. They (Somerset) came ready to play tonight, and I don’t that that surprised anybody. After you play somebody and get spanked pretty good, and then play them again in five days, you’re going to respond pretty good, and Somerset did that tonight.”
With Somerset leading the Warriors 49-48 going into the fourth quarter, the Jumpers would eventually give up that lead for the first time in the contest, thanks to a pair of free throws from Edwards.
After those free throws gave Southwestern its first lead of the night — 52-51 — Edwards and Gaskin delivered the knockout blow for the Warriors.
A putback from Gaskin off a missed shot, followed by a three-ball by Edwards, gave Southwestern it’s biggest lead of the night at that juncture over Somerset at 59-53.
Jared Farris would get Somerset back to within a pair of the Warriors — 61-59 — with two free throws with 3:27 remaining in the contest, but back to back buckets by Edwards eased the lead back out to six at 65-59, and a layup from Gaskin gave Southwestern its biggest lead of the evening at 67-59.
The Warriors outrebounded Somerset by a 34-24 margin — with many of those boards coming in the fourth quarter — when Southwestern hurt the Jumpers by getting second and third shots at the basket which led to offensive putbacks for scores at crunch time.
“Part of our rebounding problems tonight was the fact that Ryan Weddle fouled out of the game, and the other part was the fact that Southwestern was just more aggressive going to the boards than we were,” Cothron stated.
As for Wright, the Southwestern coach says he was extremely happy with the resiliency his club showed in the win over Somerset, and how they responded in the midst of some big-time adversity.
“Everything that happened was pretty much what we told our guys would happen, except for the fact that we got down so big early on in the game,” stated the Warrior coach.
“We overcame that deficit and then overcame another one in the third quarter,” he added. “This game just about got away from us, but we responded and I’m very happy with the way the guys fought back.”
Both Somerset and Southwestern will return to action tomorrow night on the road.
For the Briar Jumpers, it will be Somerset’s seventh game in the past 10 days, as the Jumpers will travel to Liberty to face Casey County in an important 47th District contest.
Southwestern meanwhile will travel to Lexington Catholic tomorrow night, where the Warriors will take on Lafayette.
SHS — 25 6 18 12 — 61
SW — 17 12 19 19 — 67
SOMERSET — R. Dishman 27, Cheuvront 14, Williams 6, T. Dishman 5, Gordon 5, Weddle 2, Farris 2.
SOUTHWESTERN — Edwards 21, Collier 13, Isaacs 9, Schulz 7, Gaskin 6, Kapinga 6, Groves 3, Estes 2.