By Doug Eads
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
SOMERSET – Just how would Somerset respond?
Three days after falling to arch-rival Southwestern, the Briar Jumpers returned home to The Briar Patch on Tuesday night to take on a very good North Laurel squad out of the 13th Region.
And, much like the game against the Warriors, Jeff Cothron’s club was looking at more adversity, trailing the visiting Jaguars by a 43-36 margin headed into the game’s final eight minutes.
However, this time at least, the Briar Jumpers responded with a big-time flurry roaring all the way back from the dead.
Somerset exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter, nailed 19 of 22 free throw attempts in the second half, helping Cothron’s club roar back for an impressive, 64-57 victory over the Jags.
“They (North Laurel) did a very good job of taking Ryan (Dishman) out of the game in the first half,” stated coach Cothron, after his club evened its mark to 9-9 on the year with the come from behind win. “We told the kids before the game that we anticipated North doing just that. We told our guards that were out front to shoot those open shots when they had them.”
And, the Somerset guards as well as the rest of the team did exactly what the coach had ordered.
Facing a box and one on Ryan Dishman — Somerset’s leading scorer — other players had to step things up a couple of notches, and they did just that.
Landon Powell continued his stellar play off the Somerset bench by scoring 14 points, with 9 of those coming in the second half.
With the Jaguars grabbing the lead in the second period, and with Ryan Dishman getting limited touches due to a tenacious North Laurel defense, other Somerset players made positive contributions.
Caleb Dockery came off the bench and drained a trey in the opening half of play, while Michael Dobbs scored on a pair of buckets down in the paint.
With Ryan Dishman held to just five points at the half, Somerset was within striking distance, trailing the Jaguars by only a 24-23 margin at the half.
In the third quarter, North Laurel’s Kyle Jeffers got extremely hot from the field, hitting a perfect, 4 for 4 from beyond the three-point line, helping the Jaguars extend their lead over the Briar Jumpers.
Thanks to that offensive flurry, North had taken a seven-point lead —43-36 over Somerset — headed into the final stanza.
“We really didn’t do anything there in the fourth quarter,” lamented North Laurel head coach Brad Sizemore, after his club fell to 9-7 with the loss. “We didn’t score, we didn’t defend, and then they (Somerset) went down and made free throws. We had a bunch of opportunities that we left at the foul line in the fourth period, and we lost a tough game on the road to a very good team.”
Indeed, the Jumpers hurt North Laurel from the charity stripe, hitting 20 of 24 free throw attempts for the game, which included a 19-22 performance from the line in the second half.
And, it was Ryan Dishman that found a way to get it done once again, even if it meant doing it from the charity stripe.
The Somerset senior went a perfect, 11 for 11 from the stripe, with many of those attempts coming in the fourth period — a quarter that saw Somerset out score North Laurel by a 28-14 margin, helping erase that seven-point deficit.
“I try to instill in everyone of those guys on our bench that when their name is called, to go out there and play with confidence,” stated Cothron, in talking about the fact his bench tallied 21 points for the contest.
“Tonight, our bench played really, really well,” added Cothron. “I thought (Michael) Dobbs and (Daniel) Coldiron and everybody played well tonight. I think in our last three games that everybody that we’ve put out there on the floor has contributed. I’m very pleased with our bench and how well it’s playing right now for us.”
The game saw a total of six lead changes and five ties, but an old-fashioned three-point play from Ryan Dishman would give the Jumpers a 52-48 lead early in the final stanza.
After a pair of buckets from North Laurel’s Chris Miller that knotted things up for the final time at 52-52, Somerset finally seized control of the game — from the free throw line.
A pair of free throws from Tyler Dishman broke the tie and gave the Jumpers a 54-52 lead, and Ryan Dishman followed those charity tosses with two of his own, extending the advantage out to 56-52.
Four more free throws from Ryan Dishman coming down the stretch would push the lead out to as much as six points — 60-54 — before two free throws from Powell finally sealed the deal for Somerset.
“You never know what the psyche of your team is going to be coming off a tough loss against an arch-rival,” stated Cothron.
“We started off well tonight, but we went into a little lull there midway through the first quarter to almost the fourth quarter where we were kind of going through the motions,” continued the SHS coach. “But, we picked it up in the fourth quarter and put some full court pressure on them, picked up a couple of turnovers, and that kind of got us off and going.”
Ryan Dishman led everybody with a game-high 23 points for Somerset, with Powell chipping in with 14 points, and Tyler Dishman added 10.
North Laurel was paced by Peyton Broughton’s 17 points, while Jeffers added 14 on a night that saw the Jags drop another close contest.
“We were just kind of up and down throughout the game,” pointed out coach Sizemore.
“Hopefully we’re going to continue to stay focused and learn from this game,” stated the North Laurel coach. “It’s a tough loss — it seems like every game we’ve lost this year it’s been a game like this one tonight. We’ve either been in the lead or we’ve been behind and come back and then lose it in the last North Laurel will host Jackson County tonight in a boy-girl doubleheader.
Somerset 64, North Laurel 57
North Laurel 9 15 19 14 — 57
Somerset 9 14 13 28 — 64
NORTH LAUREL(57) — Broughton 17, Jeffers 14, Miller 10, Thompson 5, Griebel 5, Jervis 3, Asher 1, Riley 1, Hodges 1.
SOMERSET (64)— R. Dishman 23, Powell 14, T. Dishman 10, Lindsey 5, Coomer 5, Dobbs 4, Dockery 3.