Accuracy of Somerset boys basketball team brings down Amery
Between three-point shooting and free throw shooting, the Somerset boys basketball team looked like it was holding target practice in Friday's 64-47 win over Amery.
The win lifts Somerset's Middle Border Conference record to 7-6. The Spartans complete their regular season this Thursday, when they compete at Durand.
The WIAA Division 3 sectional seeding meeting was held this weekend. Because the Spartans went undefeated against teams in their sectional bracket, they received the second seed in the section. Bloomer received the top seed in the Division 3 bracket.
By attaining the second seed, the Spartans will receive a bye in the opening round of regional play next Tuesday. The Spartans' first game will be in the regional finals, which will be played in Somerset on Friday, March 2. The opponent will be the winner of next Tuesday's game between Amery and St. Croix Falls.
Friday's game proved to be a showcase of sharp-shooting senior guards. Somerset's Danny Sheridan and Amery's Steve Bielmeier both were deadly during the game. Sheridan led Somerset by scoring 19 points, including making four of five attempts from three-point range. He also went 5-6 from the free throw line. Sheridan has made a habit of carrying the Spartans through sluggish offensive first halves. His three treys were a key part in the Spartans building a 30-21 lead by halftime on Friday.
Bielmeier was red hot, finishing with 23 points, including five three-pointers.
The difference in the game the Spartans had more offensive support. Sophomore Gaelin Elmore came alive in the second half, scoring 11 of his 14 points. Elmore also led the team with eight rebounds.
Because the Spartans will have more than a week to prepare for their tournament opener, Coach Brent Larson said the team will take some time to work on certain areas of the game that could be pivotal in the playoffs. He said one of those areas is rebounding.
"We've been getting hurt not boxing out, giving up too many offensive rebounds," Larson said.
Elmore has become the leading rebounder for the Spartans in nearly every game, with Reggie Larson and Ryan Himes also contributing solidly. But Coach Larson said more players need to be contributing to the rebounding effort.
Giving up offensive rebounds was one of the aspects that crushed the Spartans in a 47-38 loss at Ellsworth last Tuesday. The Spartans could only manage a total of 15 rebounds in the game, with no player logging more than three.
The game was nip and tuck until the final minutes, when Ellsworth was able to build a slight edge. The Spartans had a chance to tie the game with 1:15 left, getting the ball when they trailed by three points. The Spartans weren't able to get a shot off from that possession, committing a turnover.
Coach Larson said Ellsworth has become a difficult team to come back against because the Panthers are patient and take good care of the ball.
"Ellsworth is playing really well right now. We had our hands full," Larson said.
Tyler Ledbeter was the most consistent offensive threat for Somerset, finishing with 12 points at Ellsworth. Elmore scored 11 points, all in the third and fourth quarters.
Jake Green gave the team a solid contribution off the bench, scoring six points and leading the team with three steals.