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
The Pulaski County Maroons came into Monday night’s 12th Regional Tournament semi finals with a 25-6 won-loss record on the season, and a homecourt advantage over West Jessamine.
When all was said and done, none of that mattered.
West Jessamine used a 15-2 run in the first quarter to take a 20-12 lead over John Fraley’s club at the end of the first period — and despite more than one comeback attempt from Pulaski County — it would be the visiting Colts moving on to the tourney’s championship game, with an 82-68 victory over the Maroons.
Garrett Heath — playing in his final game of an outstanding prep career at Pulaski County — hit a three-pointer just before the horn sounded to end the first half, helping the Maroons get back in this one only trailing West Jessamine 35-30 at the intermission.
However, despite two or three comeback attempts in the second half, every time the Maroons got the deficit down to a working margin, it was the Colts who would have an answer.
Nate Breeden killed Pulaski County all night long from downtown, as he hit six three’s in the game on his way to a game-high 27 points.
Pulaski County meanwhile was led by Colton Fraley — also playing in the final game of an outstanding career — with 18 points, while Zach Travis added 15 points for the Maroons.
With the loss, Pulaski County finished its season with a 25-7 record, while West Jessamine moved on to Tuesday night’s championship game of the tournament, which will tip off at Pulaski County High School at 7 p.m.
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 Southwestern Warriors came into Wednesday night’s 12th Regional Tournament opener with a 17-14 season record, but eight of those losses had came by three points or less, on in other words, one possession.
Simply, the Warriors had been snake-bitten all season long in close games, but on Wednesday night, there would no close game unfortunately for the Warriors.
Facing the West Jessamine Colts, Southwestern got 11 early points in the first quarter from Cole Dysinger, and early in the second frame, the blue and orange enjoyed a seven-point lead over West Jessamine at 19-12.
That’s when Brayden Sims picked up a second foul, and things went south on Southwestern, and in a hurry at that juncture when Sims was forced to the bench.
DeAjuan Stepp scored a game-high 32 points, and the Colts went on an 18-0 spurt in the first half to roar back for an 84-56 beatdown over the Warriors.
Simply put, it was just not the Warriors night.
Sims — in only 1:33 of playing time in the second half — picked up three fouls and fouled out in the final game of his outstanding prep career at Southwestern.
Dysinger meanwhile scored a team-high 16 points for the Warriors, but it was much too little, too late, as the Colts eventually built up the lead in the second half to 30 points over the Warriors.
Southwestern — with the loss to the Colts — finished the season with a 17-15 record.
West Jessamine meanwhile advanced with the win to next Monday night’s semi final round of the tournament, where they will run up against the Pulaski County Maroons.
PC tipped off the 12th Regional tourney on Wednesday night with a 62-49 win over Lincoln County.
By DOUG EADS
Way back last October in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-’20 high school basketball season, both Pulaski County and Lincoln County were widely favored to collide in March to settle a champion inside the 12th Region.
Yet on Wednesday night at Pulaski County High School on the opening night of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, there stood the Patriots and Maroons staring at each other as they met in the first round of the tourney, instead of the title game.
And for the second time this season, Pulaski County had Lincoln County’s number.
John Fraley’s club used an 8-0 spurt to begin the second half to take this game by the throat, and the Maroons got a game-high 21 points from sophomore forward Zach Travis, helping Pulaski County to move on to the semi finals of the tourney with an impressive, 62-49 win over the Pats.
This game was a low-scoring affair in the first half — much like the first game this season between the two regional powerhouses, in a game won by PC 56-50.
On Wednesday night however with the stakes much, much larger, it was the Maroons that clearly made their case that they’re going to be a tough out in this tourney on their home court.
PC led the Patriots at the half 22-17, but took firm control of this one with a modest, 8-0 spurt to begin the third frame, taking a 30-17 lead over Lincoln County.
The Patriots — held without a three-point basket in the opening half of play — finally got on track from downtown after that PC spurt, as Baylor Mattingly knocked down a couple of treys for Lincoln County, as did Elijah Frye.
However, it was Pulaski County that led this affair 41-28 through three quarters oif play.
In the final stanza, the Patriots eventually trimmed that deficit down to seven points and had the ball, with momentum on their side.
However on that possession, PC’s Colton Fraley came up with a steal, and Travis drained a three-pointer from the corner on a nice dish from Fraley, and just like that, the Maroons were back up by 10 points, and closed it out from there.
KJ Combs also hit for double figures with 12 points for PC, and Fraley added 10 points, as the Maroons moved to 25-6 on the season with the win and onto the semi finals.
The Maroons will meet West Jessamine next Monday night in the first semi final game at Pulaski County High School at 6:30 p.m.
The Colts punched their ticket to the semi finals, with an 84-56 win last night over Southwestern.
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.