By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
It’s been a pretty good seven day stretch for Jeff Cothron and the Somerset Briar Jumpers.
In the past week — after falling in its season opener on the road at Russell County — Somerset has now bounced back and taken a strangle hold atop the standings in the 47th District.
After notching a win over district foe Rockcastle County last Friday, the Briar Jumpers returned home on Tuesday night, and ran their district record to 2-0 on the young season by running all over Casey County 64-36.
The Briar Jumpers placed 10 players into the scoring column, and after falling behind the Rebels early 2-0, never looked back on their way to their third consecutive win of the season.
Ryan Weddle led the way for Somerset with a game-high 16 points, while teammate Tyson Williams added 12, on a night when the Jumpers took advantage of their two big guys on the blocks down low against the Rebels.
“We’re a little inexperienced at getting the ball inside,” stated Cothron, after his club’s impressive win.
“Cam (Cheuvront) is a great point guard and passes the ball, and Ryan Dishman is another good scoring guard that passes the ball really well — all my guards pass the ball well,” pointed out the Somerset head coach. “They’ve got to understand at the beginning of the game we want to take advantage of our post players. When we do that, it will open up things for them, and they’re beginning to understand that.”
Taking advantage down low was exactly what Somerset did early on in Tuesday night’s clash at The Briar Patch.
Casey County’s one big guy — Baylen Hill — was saddled early with two fouls and had to leave the game for the remainder of the half, and Somerset took full advantage.
Weddle tallied 12 of his 16 points in the first half of play, while Williams scored five points, helping Somerset race out to a 33-19 lead at the intermission.
Down 14 at the break, one could maybe argue Casey County was within striking distance somewhat against Somerset, but that quickly changed in a very decisive third period of play.
The Briar Jumpers held the Rebels to only one made basket in the third quarter, and to seven points in all, blowing this one wide open by leading Casey County 52-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Ryan Dishman hit one of his two treys in the frame, while Williams followed the Dishman three with an old-fashioned three-point play, during a 19-7 Jumper run in the third quarter.
Thanks to that flurry to begin the second half, this one quickly got out of hand, and by the end of the period, this game was basically over.
“The thing that I like about my team so far is they are being coachable and they’re working hard,” pointed out Cothron.
“Their attitude is very good and they’re trying to do what we ask of them,” he added. “Tonight, I was happy to see us come out in the second half and not relax or take it easy, but we went out and tried to put Casey away. We asked them to pick up the defensive intensity coming out in the third quarter tonight and try to put them away, and they did just that.”
After knocking off Rockcastle County and Jackson County over the weekend last week, and with Tuesday’s impressive victory over the Rebels, the Briar Jumpers currently stand at 3-1 on the season, and have looked like one of the top teams within the 12th Region early on.
“I just can’t say enough about our kids character,” said Cothron.
“Even in our opener last week in the loss at Russell County against a very good team, we fought like that was a mid-season game,” pointed out the Jumper coach. “The Rockcastle County game was as physical a game as it could be and we played through that. Then, we went over to Jackson County minus Tyson Williams and won over there on Saturday.”
Somerset will return to action tonight on the road at Lynn Camp, as the Briar Jumpers will play in the annual Bowman Memorial Classic over the next three nights.
Tonight, Somerset will face Whitley County in the opening round of that tournament.
The Jumpers will return home next Monday evening to host the Bulldogs of Clinton County.
CC — 6 13 7 9 — 36
SHS — 16 17 19 12 — 64
CASEY CO. — Leigh 11, Propes 7, Hill 5, Smith 5, Scott 5, Wright 2, Pennington 1.
SOMERSET — Weddle 16, Williams 12, R. Dishman 9, Gordon 8, Coomer 6, Cheuvront 4, T. Dishman 3, Coldiron 2, Spear 2, Burkett 2.