By DOUG EADS
With several key starters still out due to playing on Somerset’s football team preparing for a Class 2 A state title game later this week, Briar Jumper head basketball coach Jeron Dunbar went into Tuesday night’s season opener with a depleted roster.
Yet, Dunbar and Somerset — thanks to a huge fourth quarter — was able to prevail against visiting Russell County in the season opener, taking down the Lakers at the Briar Patch by a final count of 66-50.
This was a back and forth game for three quarters of play, with the Lakers leading Somerset 38-37 going into the final frame.
In that fourth quarter however, the Briar Jumpers were able to put their foot on the gas leaving the Lakers in their rear-view mirror.
Somerset exploded in the final stanza, outscoring Russell County 29-12 over the game’s final eight minutes, on its way to an impressive 16-point win, with guys like Kade Grundy, Kaiya Sheron, and Jase Bruner — to name just a few — still wearing shoulder pads for at least a few more days.
That made the season-opening win pretty impressive indeed for a Somerset team that was forced to play some new faces for the very first time in a varsity basketball game.
“This was a great first win for us,” pointed out Dunbar immediately following the game.
“Our guys competed every step of the way,” added the Somerset head coach. “We were short handed, so we had to manage the game closer with our foul situation.”
Somerset got a big-time performance from Dylan Burton, who led Somerset with a game-high 32 points in the win.
Colton Correll joined Burton in double figures, coming off the Somerset bench to add 10 points, on the strength of hitting both of his attempts from behind the three-point line.
“Dylan was great — he put us on his back and made big time plays,” stated Dunbar.
“It was the first varsity experience for a lot of guys,” Dunbar added. “Colton Correll came up big off the bench and knocked down a couple of three’s. The bottom line is that we competed and found a way to win. I am very proud of my guys.”
Somerset — 1-0 on the young season — will return to action next Tuesday night facing Boyle County at The Briar Patch at 7:30 p.m.