By DOUG EADS
One night after falling to University Heights in the opening round of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic, the Somerset Briar Jumpers rebounded very nicely on Saturday evening, holding back the Morristown East Hurricanes by a final score of 74-65.
Somerset junior guard Kade Grundy led the Jumpers with 27 points, on a night when Jeron Dunbar’s club moved to 9-2 on the season, and bounced back after a very disappointing, 63-57 loss to UHA the night before.
“We challenged our guys today because we weren’t real happy after last night,” pointed out coach Dunbar, in talking about his club’s loss to UHA the night before.
“I was mad all night, and I didn’t think we came out with the right kind of energy last night,” added the Somerset head coach. “We had a long session today — let’s just say that. We preached to them about playing for each other, playing for pride, and all down through our bench tonight our guys were enthusiastic, and helping each other, so I was glad with the way we responded.”
Grundy of course had the big night with his 27 points, and it was his 6-0 spurt in the second frame that put the Briar Jumpers in control of things, erasing a 20-18 deficit into a 24-20 Somerset lead late in the first half.
The Briar Jumpers led the Hurricanes 29-22 at the half, and extended that margin to 49-37 through three quarters of play, but Morristown East would have one final run left in the tank.
In the fourth period, Somerset got up by as many as 16 points, but the Hurricanes — behind the play of Micah Simpson and Braden Ilec rallied.
The Hurricanes would cut the Somerset lead down to 70-65 with just under a minute to play, but Dylan Burton — who tallied 10 points in the win — would hit a pair of free throws, and Jackson Cooper would score on a layup, helping Dunbar and company close out the game with a mini, 4-0 run.
Gavin Stevens would add 18 points in the win for the Briar Jumpers, while Kaiya Sheron also would hit for double figures with 10 points.
Somerset will conclude play in the tourney on Sunday afternoon at The Briar Patch.