Somerset completes late comeback on Pulaski County

CALEB LOWNDES I CJ

Somerset High School junior Addi Bowling (right) gains possession of the ball in the closing minutes of the Lady Jumpers' 46-44 win over Pulaski County High School on Tuesday. Pulaski County sophomore Caroline Oakes defends in the background. 

Somerset senior Lauren Foutch drilled four 3-point shots and finished with a game best 18 points to lead the Lady Jumpers (8-13) to a thrilling 46-44 come-from-behind win over the Pulaski County (15-7) in front of a packed house at the PC gym in a big 47th District showdown.

"We have been working really hard focusing on our intensity, and a lot of games we haven't cone out with good intensity," Somerset High School girls basketball coach Casey Rexroat stated. "I knew our girls would be hyped up for the game tonight."

Foutch's fourth trey of the game helped Somerset erase a four-point deficit and pull even with the Lady Maroons at 43-43 with 1:34 remaining in the contest.

Somerset junior Addi Bowling struggled from the free throw line for most of the game Tuesday against the Lady Maroons.

But when the Lady Jumpers needed them most, the gritty point guard came through in the clutch, hitting three free throws down the stretch, including two of four charity tosses in the final eight seconds of the contest.

Bowling hit the first of two free throws to give Somerset a 45-44 lead with 8.2 seconds remaining.

"Addi (Bowling) struggled a little bit in the first half, but she started taking control of the game in the last part if the game," Rexroat stated. "She was going after ball, and hit three big free throws in the end. And even after she missed a free throw, she was going after the ball, and that was key of keeping possession of the ball."

Then after missing the second, the speedy point guard outran two Pulaski players to grab the long rebound off the miss near the sideline in front of the Lady Jumper bench and was fouled.

Bowling again hit one-of-two free throws to put Somerset on top 46-44 with 6.7 seconds left.

"When I stole the ball, I went in for the layup and got fouled," Addi Bowling explained. "I had missed every free throw before that, so I was really worried I would miss again. In the timeout they told me what to work on and I made the first one. On the second one I missed, but I got the long rebound. They fouled me again and I shot two more free throws and I made the second one. My free throws have been pretty off lately, but I made them when I needed to."

Pulaski County had one final chance to tie the game, but junior Maddy Dunn's layup at the other end came up short and the Lady Jumpers held on for the win.

Somerset had trouble getting going early on against Pulaski's aggressive zone defense, turning the ball over four times and going more than three minutes without scoring.

Madison Garland finally got the Lady Jumpers untracked with a 3-pointer from the corner to give Somerset a 3-2 lead they held the rest of the half.

Foutch and Bowling also connected on threes to held Somerset take an 11-7 lead after the first quarter.

Pulaski county got a layup from Dunn and a rebound and put-back basket by Heidi Thompson to open the second quarter to tie the game at 11-11.

But the Lady Jumpers once again used the long ball to race out to their largest lead of the game.

A pair of 3-pointers by Garland and a three by Kate Bruner gave Somerset a 24-16 lead with just under three minutes left in the half.

Haylee Ridner pulled Pulaski to within 24-19 at the half with a long three inside the final two minutes.

The Lady Maroons came out on fire to start the second half.

A quick three by Thompson and a basket by Caroline Oakes jumpstarted a 9-1 Lady Maroon run, and another put back by Johnson gave Pulaski a 28-25 lead with 2:46 left in the third quarter.

As she did all night, Foutch hit a big 3-pointer to slow the PC momentum and tie the game at 28-28.

Foutch again tied the game at 30-30 with a short jump shot but the Lady Maroons quickly pulled out to a 36-30 lead on two quick baskets by Johnson and a rebound and put-back by Sydney Martin.

Foutch pulled Somerset to within 36-33 with her third 3-pointer of the game with 13 seconds remaining.

Pulaski maintained a four-point advantage 43-39, thanks to a Blankenship 3-pointer and a spinning baseline jumper by the sophomore, and looked to be in control of the contest after Dunn grabbed am offensive rebound of a teammate's missed three point shot.

But a PC turnover with 2:16 remaining opened the door for the Lady Jumpers.

A Bruner free throw cut the deficit to 43-40 with 2:06 left, then Foutch came through again, draining her fourth trey of the game to tie it at 43-43 with 1:43 left.

Ridner gave the Lady Maroons the lead once more, hitting one of two free throws to make it 44-43 Pulaski with 1:11 left.

But after a Martin steal with 47 seconds left, Ridner was unable to connect on the front end of the bonus after being fouled with 27 seconds left, setting the stage for Bowling to seal the win for Somerset.

Garland was the only other Lady Jumper in double figures on the night, finishing with 13 points.

Bruner tallied seven points, while Bowling had six points and Mills had two points.

"I don't know if we took a bad outside shot in the first half," Rexroat said. "We have been working on being more discipline in our offense all year, but it is really starting to sink in now in this game. Shot the ball well in the first half but didn't shoot the ball so well in the second half, but our girls showed heart and fought back for the win."

Thompson led the Lady Maroons in scoring with 15 points, while Dunn also was in double figures with 10 points.

Ridner and Oakes finished with six points each, Blankenship added five points and Martin had two points.

The Lady Maroons will look to snap a five-game losing skid when they take on Rockcastle County at home on Friday.

The Lady Jumpers return to action on Thursday at Knox Central.

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