By DOUG EADS
RICHMOND — One night after an impressive win over visiting Rockcastle County to earn their first district win of the young season, the Somerset Briar Jumpers ventured up I-75 on Saturday night, and fell to 2-3 on the year, falling to Madison Central by a final score of 69-59.
The Indians — ranked in the top 10 in Kentucky in the preseason rankings — flexed their muscles in this affair, led by Western Kentucky University signee Isaiah Cozart.
Cozart — who just became Kentucky’s all-time leading shot blocker in high school earlier this season — paced Madison Central in the win with a game-high 25 points, while his teammate Braedan Ray added 17 points.
That duo along with Madison Central’s inside play was too much for a pesky Somerset team to overcome.
However, the Jumpers proved even in defeat they could in fact play with one of the top teams inside the Bluegrass state.
“This was a great game for us to play,” stated Somerset head coach Jeron Dunbar following the game.
“Madison Central was a preseason number five team in the state,” continued the Somerset coach. “I knew we were going to get something out of this game either way. We went into it with the mind set that we could win the game just like always, and we fought to until the end. My guys had plenty of opportunities to quit but didn’t.”
Indeed, Somerset stayed within striking distance with the Indians for the entire way.
The Jumpers got 42 of their 59 points from Kade Grundy and Chase Walker, as both of the Somerset guards led their club in the loss with 21 points each.
However, the difference in this contest came down to the charity stripe and the battle of the boards.
Somerset was a respectable six for nine from the free throw line, while Madison Central went 16-29, outscoring Somerset by 10 points from the charity stripe, which was the margin of defeat for Dunbar and crew.
“We gave up way too many offensive rebounds, but a lot of that credit goes to (Isaiah) Cozart,” stated Dunbar. “We will not see another player like him all year.”
The Briar Jumpers get right back after it on Tuesday night, hosting 47th District rival Casey County in a girl/boy doubleheader at The Briar Patch beginning at 6 p.m.