Jan. 26—It was round two of the Pulaski-Somerset rivalry at the Briar Patch on Friday evening, and after a long layoff for the Lady Maroons, plus the Lady Jumpers having their best performance of the season earlier in the week, anything was possible.
The Lady Jumpers certainly are not the same team that played Pulaski over a month ago, and were much more competitive in this one. However, this was still the Maroons' game to lose and although they didn't play perfect basketball, they did enough to still win handily over Somerset 58-36.
Neither team could connect from the field early on in the contest, with it being obvious that Pulaski had some serious rust to work off on the court. Somerset had the chance to take the early lead at the line but missed both, with Hannah Murray coming down at the other end to hit the first basket of the game, giving the Lady Maroons a lead that they did not surrender for the entirety of the contest. After a three-pointer from Maggie Holt and three the hard way from Sydney Martin, Pulaski was suddenly out to an 8-0 lead.
Sophie Barnes broke the scoreless drought for the Jumpers with a made three-pointer. Unfortunately, that was immediately answered by a three on the other side of the court from Murray. Martin hit on an offensive put-back before Serenity Haynes hit two from the line to make the score 13-5. A 9-1 run by the Maroons closed out the first quarter, with the Jumpers plagued by turnover issues, to give Pulaski a 22-6 lead. Taylen Ralston had a quick five points during the run, with McKaila Monroe scoring the other four.
This time it was Somerset scoring the first points of the period, as Sarah White hit two free throws to open up the second. Five straight from Martin kept the pressure on the Jumpers, with Haynes answering down low soon after to make the score 27-10. Martin continued her assault in the paint with four more points as the lead for the visitors grew to 33-12. She scored two off a beautiful behind-the-back assist from Brooklyn Thomas that looked straight out of a WNBA All-Star Game.
All Somerset could do late in the period was make one out of two free throws, meanwhile Pulaski was continuing to make easy buckets to extend their lead. Devan Hurt had a momentum-builder to end the half for the home team though, as she spun around at half court to drain a buzzer-beater at the buzzer for three, with Pulaski ahead 41-17 at the break.
The Jumpers really used that shot right before the break to come into the second half with a different mindset, as they scored seven of the first 11 points of the third to trim their deficit to 45-24. Both Haynes and Tori Robertson scored during the opening spree, with White hitting a shot from deep.
Seven straight by the Maroons, four from Martin and three from Ralston, once again turned the tide back in favor of the Maroons. Robertson and Monroe traded baskets to end the period, but it was Pulaski who ultimately was in cruise control at the end of the third quarter after leading 54-26.
Somerset outscored Pulaski in the fourth and final quarter 10-4, as the visitors sought to get some time for their younger players on the court. Caroline Heist and Monroe scored the lone points in the period for the Lady Maroons. The starters for the Jumpers kept giving it their all, with White adding another four points, but it was still Pulaski on top as the final buzzer sounded 58-36. Credit to Somerset though, as they had a much better effort this time around.
The Lady Maroons were led by a game-high 20 points from Martin, while both Monroe and Ralston joined her in double figures with 10 apiece. Other scorers included Murray with seven, Thomas with four, Maggie Holt with three and both Madeline Butcher and Heist with two.
The Lady Jumpers were led by White with 10 points, as well as Robertson with nine. Haynes had six, Barnes added five, Hurt scored five and Emmie Midden added one to wrap up their scoring.
Pulaski improves their record to 15-5 and will return home to welcome in the Greenwood Lady Gators on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Somerset falls to 3-13 and will be back at the Briar Patch on Tuesday to host the West Jessamine Colts. Game time for that one is still to be determined.
Jacob Pratt is the Sports Editor of the Commonwealth Journal and can be reached at email@example.com.