By DOUG EADS
The Somerset Briar Jumpers had been near or at the top of the 12th Regional standings all season long.
On Monday night at Pulaski County High School in the semi finals of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, an old nemesis — the Danville Admirals — were standing in Somerset’s way to a regional title game appearance.
And, the Ads came out like a house on fire.
After losing to Somerset in both regular season meetings, Ed McKinney’s club was looking to make a statement on Monday night, and the Ads did just that.
Danville came out and punched Somerset squarely in the mouth, leading the Briar Jumpers by 17 points at halftime, and despite a valiant comeback effort, Somerset would fall in heart-breaking fashion thanks to a last second tip in from Jalen Dunn, helping Danville escape with a 66-64 victory.
Wow, what a game.
Danville — thanks to some red-hot shooting from downtown — led Somerset at the break by a whopping, 39-22 margin.
Somerset was dead, right? No, that would be wrong.
Playing with the heart of a champion, Jeron Dunbar’s club fought back.
Jase Bruner hit three treys in the second half, while Gavin Stevens knocked down a pair of three’s after the intermission, helping Somerset to get back off the mat.
And, despite the fact that Somerset’s leading scorer — Kade Grundy — rolled an ankle and basically played the fourth quarter on one leg, the Briar Jumpers roared back.
Somerset fought all the way back from that 17-point halftime deficit to knot things up at 64-64 with less than a minute to play in the contest, before Danville held the ball for a last shot.
That shot was missed, but Jalen Dunn’s tip in was good just before the final horn sounded, sending Danville to the regional title game, while ending Somerset’s season in heart-breaking fashion with a 66-64 win over the Briar Jumpers.
Bruner and Grundy both led Somerset with 15 points each in the game, while Dylan Burton and Stevens each chipped in with 11 points, for a Briar Jumper team that saw their season end with a 26-6 record.
Danville — with the win — moved on to Tuesday night’s championship game of the tournament to face West Jessamine at 7 p.m. from Pulaski County High School.
By DOUG EADS
In Thursday night’s first round game of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament at Pulaski County High School, the Somerset Briar Jumpers found themselves in a 15-6 deficit to East Jessamine late in the first quarter.
No problem whatsoever for Jeron’s Dunbar’s club.
Kade Grundy tallied 18 of his game-high 34 points in the first half, helping Somerset go into the locker room with a 30-27 lead over the Jaguars.
Coming out of the intermission, Grundy drained a couple of contested three’s, and Somerset began the third period on a 20-6 run to take a 50-33 lead over the Jaguars.
East Jessamine’s Michael Powell came out of the gate swinging, and he was largely responsible for the Jags racing out to that 15-6 lead over the Jumpers midway through the first quarter.
However from that juncture, Grundy took over at the offensive end of the floor, and the Jags had trouble all night long with Somerset’s size and length advantage down in the paint.
All five of Somerset’s starters hit for double figures in the win, with Grundy leading the way with 34 points.
Kaiya Sheron added 13 points in the win for Somerset, while Gavin Stevens, Dylan Burton, and Jase Bruner each added 10 points for a Briar Jumper team that improved to 26-5 on the season with the win.
On Monday night, Somerset will take on arch-rival Danville — a 70-60 winner over Wayne County in last night’s second first round game — in the second semi final contest.
The first semi final game on Monday night at Pulaski County High School will feature the homestanding Maroons taking on West Jessamine beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Somerset-Danville game will follow that contest approximately 20 minutes after the first game.
The two winners on Monday night will face off on Tuesday night in the 12th Regional Tournament Championship Game from Pulaski County High School beginning at 7 p.m.
By DOUG EADS
The 12th Regional Tournament draws were held earlier this morning at Pulaski County High School, and both the boy’s and girl’s tourneys are now set, and WOW, what a tournament they’re both going to be.
Simply put, both tournaments will see monumental matchups in round one.
On Monday night, the Girl’s 12th Regional Tournament will get things started at Lincoln County High School, and right out of the gate, fans are going to get to see the two prohibitive favorites — Casey County and defending 12th Regional champion Southwestern — square off against each other in round one of the tourney; a rematch of last year’s 12th Regional Tournament title game.
On the boy’s side, another matchup of two bonafide regional contenders will take place to kick off the tournament, as homestanding Pulaski County will square off against the 12th Region’s defending champion Lincoln County.
Here’s a complete rundown of the games, times, and dates of both regional tournaments.
GIRL’S 12TH REGIONAL TOURNAMENT AT LINCOLN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
MONDAY, MARCH 2ND
Danville vs. East Jessamine 6:30 p.m.
Casey County vs. Southwestern 8:00 p.m.
TUESDAY, MARCH 3RD
Mercer County vs. Wayne County 6:30 p.m.
Rockcastle County vs. Garrard County 8:00 p.m.
FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH — SEMI FINALS AT 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 7TH — FINALS AT 7 p.m.
BOY’S 12TH REGIONAL TOURNAMENT AT PULASKI COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4TH
Pulaski County vs. Lincoln County 6:30 p.m.
Southwestern vs. West Jessamine 8:00 p.m.
THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH
Somerset vs. East Jessamine 6:45 p.m.
Wayne County vs. Danville 8:15 p.m.
MONDAY, MARCH 9TH — SEMI FINALS AT 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
TUESDAY, MARCH 10TH — FINALS AT 7:00 p.m.
By DOUG EADS
Kade Grundy scored 22 of his game-high 31 points in the first half, and Somerset withstood a furious, fourth quarter rally by Pulaski County, as the Briar Jumpers posted an 80-69 victory over the Maroons on Thursday night to claim the Boy’s 47th District Basketball Tournament championship.
Thanks to Grundy and the Briar Jumpers hot start out of the gate, Somerset led this one wire to wire against the Maroons.
Grundy hit two three pointers, and Gavin Stevens added another trey, and just over a minute into the contest, Jeron Dunbar’s club led PC 9-0.
The Briar Jumpers methodically built up the lead, taking advantage of cold shooting by the Maroons in the opening half of play, as well as the fact Somerset hurt PC on the offensive boards, getting several 2nd chance point opportunities.
The Jumpers led the Maroons 40-25 at the half, and eventually built up the lead to as much as 19 points in the third quarter.
However, that’s when Pulaski County finally got on track and tried to get off the mat.
Held scoreless in the opening half, Colton Fraley helped lead the Maroons charge back, scoring his team-leading 19 points after the intermission.
And, thanks to Colton Fraley’s hot shooting in the second half, John Fraley’s club almost made it all the way back.
A steal and dunk by PC’s Zach Travis whittled the Somerset lead down to just three points at 68-65, with less than two minutes left to play in the contest.
PC at that juncture had all the momentum on its side, and Somerset was reeling somewhat.
No worries however for the Briar Jumpers. On the next trip downcourt, Grundy hit another three pointer in front of the Somerset bench to extend the lead to 71-65 over the Maroons, and PC would not threaten again.
The win by Somerset stopped a three-year slide against PC, as the Maroons had defeated the Briar Jumpers in the previous three 47th District Tournament title games, dating all the way back to 2017.
Grundy led everybody with 31 points, Kaiya Sheron added 15 points, while Stevens and Jase Bruner each added 11.
Pulaski County meanwhile was led by Fraley with those 19 second half points, Travis added 14 points, KJ Combs tallied 11 points, and Grant Oakes chipped in with 10 points.
The Briar Jumpers moved to 25-5 on the season with the win, while Pulaski County fell to 24-6 on the year.
Both teams will move on to the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament at Pulaski County High School, which gets underway next Wednesday night, March 4th.
Check out The Doug Out Sports Blog tomorrow afternoon for the brackets, times, and dates of both the Girl’s and Boy’s 12th Regional Tournaments.
By DOUG EADS
The Somerset Briar Jumpers came into Tuesday night’s first round 47th District game against the Casey County Rebels as a prohibitive favorite to advance to the district championship game.
And for good reason.
After all, the Briar Jumpers came into the contest with a 23-5 season record, while the Rebels — going through a major rebuild this season — stood at only 3-27 on the year.
This one was a proverbial David vs. Goliath matchup, but somebody forgot to tell the Rebels they were supposed to roll over against the Briar Jumpers in a loser go home for the season tilt.
Casey County came out and played a great first half, and went into the locker room knotted up the heavily-favored Briar Jumpers at 31-31.
However in the third quarter, Jeron Dunbar’s club put the defensive clamps down on the Rebels.
Casey County only managed to score three points in the third stanza, while Somerset tallied 20 points, helping the Jumpers ease out to a 51-34 lead through three quarters of play, on their way to a 60-40 win over the Rebels.
Kade Grundy led the Jumpers in the win, as he was the lone Somerset player to hit for double figures with 18 points.
With the victory, the Jumpers advanced to Thursday night’s championship game of the district tourney, where they will square off against Pulaski County.
Thursday night’s game between the Jumpers and Maroons will mark the fourth consecutive season the two arch-rivals have met in the district tourney finals.
PC has won the district title in all three of those meetings.
Game time is set to get underway at 7 p.m. on Thursday night from Rockcastle County High School.
By DOUG EADS
Both Somerset and Pulaski County beat each other this season on the other team’s home floor, and both clubs finished with identical, 5-1 records in district play.
That meant at Monday’s 47th District Tournament meeting at Rockcastle County High School, the two clubs had to await a coin flip to determine the district’s number one seed.
Pulaski County head coach John Fraley got to call the flip, and he chose heads, but the quarter landed on tails, meaning Somerset was given the top seed, and will face Casey County next Tuesday evening, February 25th at 7:30 p.m. at Rockcastle County High School in the first round of the boy’s tourney.
“It really is the scariest game of the year, because everybody’s record goes back to 0 and 0,” stated Somerset head coach Jeron Dunbar.
“You’re going to get everybody’s best shot, and when we played Casey County the last time, they came out and punched us in the mouth early in that game, and they got up six or eight points and we had to battle back,” added the Somerset head coach. “We’ve got the experience, and I think we’ve got a little more physical players than they do, but it’s going to be a battle. You take no one for granted at this time of the year.”
The Briar Jumpers are 21-5 headed into the final week of the regular season — a week that will see Somerset play on Tuesday night at Garrard County, while finishing out the campaign on Thursday night with a home game against Danville.
Somerset will be a prohibitive favorite against Casey County, but as Dunbar said, anything can happen when it comes to the post season in Kentucky hoops.
Meanwhile, John Fraley’s Pulaski County Maroons — thanks to that coin flip — will have to play Rockcastle County in a loser goes home game on the Rockets home floor in round one of the tourney.
Pulaski County handled The Rock fairly easy this season, winning game one at Rockcastle County 85-56, and winning the game at The PC Gym 74-46.
This time — next Tuesday, February 25 at 6 p.m., the stakes will be much higher, with a berth to the 12th Regional Tournament — which will be held at Pulaski County High School on the Maroons home court — on the line for both teams.
While most coaches might cringe at the thought of having to play a team on its home floor in an elimination game in the first round of a district tourney, coach Fraley says that he can’t worry about Rockcastle County — his focus headed into the post season is on his own ballclub, the Pulaski County Maroons.
“We’ve just got to play the team that’s in front of us, and worry about us and not them,” stated the PC head coach.
“We’ve got to worry about us and try to get healthy, and we need to shore up some things defensively, and just keep working and be ready when the ball goes up next Tuesday,” Fraley added.
The Maroons are 22-5 on the season headed into Monday night’s regular season finale at home against Boyle County, and will be a big favorite to advance to the district championship game which will be held next Thursday night at Rockcastle County High School.
The Girl’s 47th District Tournament will kick off post season play next Monday night, with the Pulaski County Lady Maroons facing Rockcastle County at 6 p.m., with Somerset taking on Casey County in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
The girl’s championship game will be played next Wednesday night, February 26th.