By DOUG EADS
Somerset head coach Jeron Dunbar knew going into Wednesday night’s highly-anticipated rematch with district rival Pulaski County that his club was going to be short-handed.
Gavin Stevens and Dakota Acey were both out with illnesses; meanwhile the Pulaski County Maroons were hitting on all cylinders for much of the contest.
The Maroons built up as much as a 14-point lead in the opening half, threw a balanced scoring attack at Somerset, and oh by the way, shot 50 percent from the floor for the contest, hitting on 24-48 field goal attempts.
As a result, it was Pulaski County getting revenge for a loss to the Briar Jumpers on its own home court just over two weeks ago, with a 71-55 victory over Somerset at The Briar Patch.
The Maroons took charge early in this one over the Briar Jumpers, and late in the first half, it was John Fraley’s club leading homestanding Somerset at the intermission by 14 points — 31-17.
That’s when Somerset made a mini run, but a jumper at the free throw line just before the horn sounded ending the first half by PC’s Colton Fraley eased the lead for the Maroons back out to six points at halftime by a score of 35-29.
Early in the second half, the Maroons got off to a very slow start, with four turnovers on their first five possessions down the floor in the third quarter.
However, Somerset couldn’t capitalize when the Maroons left the door cracked just a bit.
The Briar Jumpers trimmed the deficit down to four points at 40-36 midway through the third frame, but Pulaski County ended the period with a 10-0 spurt, taking a 14-point lead — 50-36 over Somerset — into the fourth quarter.
In that final frame, Somerset cut the lead down to seven points, thanks to a pair of three-point baskets from Dylan Burton and Jase Bruner.
However, with PC only up by those seven points — and with Somerset having momentum on its side — Zach Travis drained a three of his own in front of the Pulaski County bench to ease the margin back up to 10 points, and the Maroons would make their free throws down the stretch to ice the game away.
Fraley led Pulaski County in the win with 19 points, KJ Combs added 17 points, and Travis tallied 16 points for the Maroons.
Burton meanwhile was the lone Somerset player in double figures in the game with 21 points for the Briar Jumpers.
Both teams now have identical, 20–5 overall records on the season, and both clubs finished with identical, 5-1 marks in district play, winning on the other team’s home court.
That all means that at next Monday’s 47th District Tournament meeting at Rockcastle County High School, there will be a coin flip to decide the number-one seed for the upcoming district tourney.
Somerset will return to action on Saturday at 6 p.m. at The Briar Patch to host Green County, while Pulaski County has another arch-rival waiting for the Maroons.
Pulaski County will travel to Southwestern on Friday night for a girl-boy doubleheader, which gets underway at 6 p.m. with the girl’s contest.
The boy’s game can be heard on iHeartRadio of Somerset on LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly along with my brother Jamie Eads will bring you all of the exciting action of that contest, beginning with our pregame show which will get underway at around 7:15 p.m.