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3 PARTY: Somerset advances to region semifinals with win over Trinity Christian

Mar. 8—Somerset, fresh off a win over Pulaski County for the district title, kicked off their stay at the 12th Region Tournament on Thursday night. With the Jumpers taking on Trinity Christian, a team appearing in the tournament for the first time in program history, it figured to be one of the most lopsided games in the the first round.

For most of the first half, Trinity Christian proved that they belonged with the region's elite. However, the three-point shooting of the Jumpers eventually proved to be too much, with Somerset running away with a 73-53 victory.

An offensive put-back from Ben Godby after a strong rebound gave Somerset an early lead before junior Bryce Thompson hit the first three of the ball game to flip the lead to the Titans. Josh Lewis, starting due to an injury sustained by Jamison Coomer, drilled a three soon after to give the Jumpers the lead back.

A Godby steal and slam dunk hyped up the Somerset portion of the crowd at Pulaski County High. Lewis hit another three before the end of the quarter, with Jakob Bartley also scoring on a basket inside to give Somerset a seven-point edge. Thompson scored a two before the intermission to make the Jumpers' lead sit at 12-7.

It was all Titans early on in the second as they got out to a 13-12 lead following a 6-0 scoring spree. Juniors Allen Okorley and Alan Coffman, as well as senior Carver Kramer all scored on the run. Lewis finally broke the Jumpers onto the scoreboard in the period with yet another three-pointer. The teams traded baskets for a while in the quarter, with a traditional three-point play from Okorley giving Trinity Christian a 20-17 lead.

Aedyn Absher finally broke into the scorer's book with a three that tied the game up. After an Okorley basket inside, Somerset closed the half on a 10-0 run that saw them take a 30-22 lead into the break. Lewis drilled two shots from downtown to close the quarter, giving himself 15 points all on three-pointers in the first half.

A pair of free throws from Indred Whitaker, unusually quiet in the first half with only two points, got the Jumpers' lead out to double digits to start the third. A three-point play from junior Noah Westerfield cut their opponents lead down to just five. Whitaker finally connected from deep to give Somerset a 35-27 advantage, although Trinity Christian kept answering to keep the pressure on the home team on the scoreboard.

Despite the pressure, Whitaker would not wilt, as he kept on hitting three-pointers. Two consecutive threes increased Somerset's lead back up to 10 points. Thompson had four points late for the Titans, however another two shots from long range by Whitaker gave his team a 53-41 lead heading into the final period. With five in the quarter and 17 points scored overall in the third, Whitaker wasn't going to let his team lose in the first round.

Godby scored four of the first six points, including a circus-like finish near the basket, to increase Somerset's lead up to 14 points. A quick 7-0 spurt by the Jumpers, including the sixth-made three of the half by Whitaker and two apiece from Absher and Godby, pushed this game into blowout status as Somerset now led 64-45 midway through the quarter.

Thompson scored again to end the Somerset scoring run. Two apiece from Godby and Whitaker finally pushed their lead up to 20 points as this game was virtually over with only a few minutes left to go. Thompson added five more for the Titans before the end of the quarter, although that was countered by a three-point play from Lewis and a layup from Colyer White. Somerset was victorious over Trinity Christian 73-53, giving them their first semifinal appearance since 2020.

The Jumpers were led in scoring by Whitaker with 24 points, as well as Lewis with 18 and Godby with 16. Other scorers included Absher with nine, Bartley with four and White with two. Somerset hit a total of 12 three-pointers during the game, with Whitaker and Lewis combining for 11 of those. Trinity Christian was led by Thompson with 20 points.

Somerset will now advance to Monday night's semifinals, where they will take on a very familiar foe in Danville Christian. The Jumpers faced off against the Warriors in the regular season finale, where they were bested 48-45 after being held scoreless in the fourth quarter. The game will tip off at 8:15 p.m.

Jacob Pratt is the Sports Editor of the Commonwealth Journal and can be reached at jpratt@somerset-kentucky.com.