BY MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
Coming into the 2012-13 season, Southwestern and Somerset were back-to-back in the preseason 12th Region rankings, with the Warriors in the number two spot and the Briar Jumpers in the third position.
Southwestern displayed that the gap from two to three may be much larger than most expected, as the Warriors came away with a 27-point victory over Somerset on Saturday night at the Wigwam in the semifinals of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic.
Second-year Warrior coach Steve Wright is continuing to be impressed with his team’s play. And why not? The Warriors now have an overall record of 12-2 and have won nine games in a row.
“Every night we are doing something a little better than we did the night before,” began Wright. “We are making a lot of progress and are improving both offensively and defensively. We’re doing some really good things. I was happy with the way our kids played.”
Somerset jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but that lead would be short-lived, as the Warriors would go on a 14-2 run, including a span of 10 unanswered points to run out to a 14-4 lead over the Jumpers. Warrior juniors Justin Edwards and David Kapinga would combine to score all 14 of the points for Southwestern on the run.
The first quarter would end with a trio of three-pointers from three different players - Somerset’s Tyler Dishman, Southwestern’s Adam Isaacs, and Kapinga. At the conclusion of the opening frame, the Warriors led by 11 points at 20-9.
Two things that stuck out in the first quarter was the stellar play from Kapinga and Somerset’s rough start. Kapinga started the game off well, scoring 11 of his 13 total points in the first period alone, meaning he outscored the entire Somerset team. The Jumpers, meanwhile, didn’t get off to the best start, as they committed six turnovers in the first eight minutes of the contest.
Jeff Cothron, the head coach of the Jumpers, was very disappointed in the way his team played in the 27-point loss to the Warriors.
“On a scale of one to ten, we played at probably a one - we just didn’t show up tonight,” stated the Somerset hoops coach. “We did the same thing against West Jessamine - we’re looking for consistency. We play one really good game, play mediocre a couple of games, and then lay an egg one game.”
“Southwestern played well and shot the ball well, but we didn’t show up to play.”
Southwestern continued to roll in the second quarter of action, as the Warriors outscored Somerset by a margin of 22-15. At the intermission, the Warriors went into the locker room with an 18-point, 42-24 lead over the Jumpers.
The Warriors outlasted Somerset, 21-10, in the third frame to take a 63-34 advantage after three quarters. Somerset would outscore the Warriors in the fourth by two points, but it was too little, too late for the Jumpers.
Southwestern, scoring-wise, was led by Isaacs, who came off the bench to finish with 20 points. Edwards was right behind Isaacs with 19 points, while Kapinga hit double figures with 13 points. Edwards led all players with eight rebounds.
The Jumpers had two players make it into double figures, Williams and T. Dishman. Williams’ 14 points was a team-high for Somerset, while T. Dishman finished with 11 points.
With the win, the Warriors advanced to the championship game, where they earned a match-up with another cross-town rival, Pulaski County.
“Since you’ve got to play four games anyway, you might as well play in the game that means the most,” Wright concluded. “It will be a good experience for our kids.”
SHS - 9 15 10 22 - 56
SW - 20 22 21 20 - 83
SOMERSET (9-3): Williams 14, T. Dishman 11, Weddle 8, Dockery 7, R. Dishman 6, Gordon 5, Cheuvront 2, Farris 2, McWilliams 1.