Wasn’t it only fitting that this game would go into an overtime?
For the first time in the modern day era, two teams from the Pulaski County area met in a 12th Regional Basketball Tournament game last night at Lincoln County High School, and the issue couldn’t be decided in regulation.
Somerset verses Southwestern round three was an instant classic — a thriller, a barn-burner, a gut-wrencher, take your pick.
All of the above fit.
Southwestern’s Kyle Klingensmith hit arguably, the biggest shot of his life, as his three-pointer from deep out of the corner with 1:02 left in regulation, tied this one for the final time on Thursday evening, at 43-43.
Somerset had one final possession, but John Cole’s shot was rejected, Southwestern’s Kyle Rodgers grabbed the rebound, sending this one went to overtime.
In that extra session, it was Casey Dalton time for Southwestern.
The Warriors senior guard scored the first five points in OT, and thanks to ending the game on a 16-5 run, ignited by Klingensmith’s trey with 1:02 left in regulation, it was Southwestern surviving and moving on in the tourney, with a 56-48 victory over Somerset.
So coach Schulz, after Dalton’s first five points of the overtime period gave your club its biggest lead at that juncture of the contest, 48-43, what was the Warrior boss thinking at that particular time?
“We kept on believing that we were rebound away, one loose ball away, one steal away, where they would have to go man, and we could go into our bread and butter with five-cut,” said Schulz. “Once we knew we could get into that situation, we knew we were really going to get confident, because that’s when we started hitting our free throws too.”
As far as the game going into overtime, wasn’t it only fitting coach Schulz, on a night when history was made with the all-local matchup in a regional tourney game, that the fans would get their money’s worth, by getting to see an extra four minutes of action?
“It was a special night, because it featured two top teams, competitive teams going nose to nose with no one backing down,” pointed out the SWHS coach. “It was a great night of basketball, and I’m just so proud of our team and so proud of the way they executed down the stretch.”
Indeed, the Warriors, who were on this stage last season, finishing as regional runner-up to Boyle County, made the plays down the end when they had to be made.
However, it didn’t look good for the Warriors late in this one toward the end of the fourth quarter.
Jonathan Edwards, held to just four points in the first half, went on an 8-1 run himself toward the end of the third period, hitting two long-range bombs along the way, erasing a 32-27 Somerset lead, giving his club a 35-33 advantage.
Tyler Bourne however, got the Briar Jumpers back even at 35-35 at the end of the period, thanks to a pair of free throws with only :0.6 left in the third frame.
At that point, the lead would see-saw back and fourth early in the final stanza.
Adam Wallen drained a three-pointer giving Somerset a 38-37 lead early in the fourth quarter, but on the next trip down the floor, Klingensmith hit the first of his two, big-time treys on the night, putting Southwestern back on top, 40-38.
A Scott Moody putback knotted the game at 40-40, and Somerset went up by three points, 43-40, on two more free throws by Bourne, and a 1 for 2 effort by Corey Price from the charity stripe.
With 1:30 left on the clock, the Warriors called a timeout down by that three-point margin.
Coming out of that timeout, Southwestern missed a three-pointer, but the Warriors grabbed the rebound, paving the way for Klingensmith to get his opportunity to hit the trey that knotted the score at 43-43.
With the loss, the Jumpers ended their season in disappointing fashion, ending the year with a 14-15 mark, leaving an emotional Shawn Thacker almost completely drained after the contest, struggling for the right words to express his bitter disappointment with the loss, on a night when his kids left it on the floor.
“It’s a tough loss for us, but I’m so very proud of my kids,” stated the Jumper coach. “It was a great environment with both schools supporting their teams. That’s the way the game was supposed to be played, with the kids from both schools playing it the right way, and showing the kind of sportsmanship that was good to see. That’s what it’s all about and how it’s supposed to be played.”
As far as his club losing another close game, Thacker indicated that was what made this particular loss so tough, and that was the fact that his team is so close to being something very, very special.
With that in mind, Thacker stated that he’s very glad he’s got a very strong nucleus of kids who will be seniors next season coming back for one more shot, but that didn’t take the pain away from the loss to Southwestern on this night.
“I thought Scott Moody’s effort was just outstanding tonight, and we’ll miss him next year,” said Thacker. “We’ve got to have them all stay healthy throughout the rest of the sports seasons, and next year is a long, long way away.”
“We feel good about the future of our basketball team for next year, but right now, it’s just hard to say good-bye to Scott (Moody), Jordie (Molen), Andrew (Wilson), Cam (Lackey), and Brett (Jones), because they’ve all given our program a lot this season as seniors,” Thacker stated. “I’m really hurting for those guys right now.”
Dalton wore the laurel of hero for Southwestern, and it certainly couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid.
The Warriors point guard missed two front ends of the bonus coming down the stretch in the fourth period, but did he ever atone for those two misses early in the overtime period.
Dalton scored on a layup and was fouled, completing the three-point play giving Southwestern a 46-43 lead, and on the next trip downcourt, Dalton picked John Cole’s pocket for a steal and went coast to coast for another layup, putting Southwestern up 48-43 — a lead the Warriors would never relinquish.
Down the stretch of the overtime period, Southwestern would ice the game from the charity stripe, sandwiched in between a huge play from Kyle Rodgers, who rebounded a missed free throw, and scored and was fouled, completing a three-point play of his own.
The Warriors were led by both Dalton and Edwards, who tallied 16 points each in the win, helping Southwestern improve to 18-10 on the year.
Meanwhile, Scott Moody led the Jumpers with 15 points, while Bourne and Cole each finished with 12 points for Somerset.
Southwestern advances to next Monday’s semi finals of the tourney, where the Warriors will run up against Boyle County in the second game of the evening, beginning at 8 p.m.
The Rebels improved to 17-12 last night with a 75-62 triumph over the East Jessamine Jaguars.
Boyle County got 21 points from Spencer Perrin in the win, while Jordan Aumiller chipped in with 16 points, and Nate Collins added 13.
Monday’s first semi final game is set to get underway at 6 p.m. from Lincoln County High School, when the West Jessamine Colts will take on the home-standing Lincoln County Patriots.
SHS 14 6 15 8 5 48
SW 10 9 16 8 13 56
Somerset—Moody 15, Bourne 12, Cole 12, Wallen 8, Price 1
Southwestern—Dalton 16, Edwards 16, Sears 9, T. Jones 6, Klingensmith 6, Rodgers 3
Wasn’t it only fitting that this game would go into an overtime?