Somerset boys basketball gets first win, beats Ashland 66-62Playing in the Rice Lake holiday tournament was an opportunity for the Somerset boys basketball team to prove it could compete.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Playing in the Rice Lake holiday tournament was an opportunity for the Somerset boys basketball team to prove it could compete.
The Spartans not only competed, they earned their first win of the season in a 66-62 decision over Ashland last Wednesday.
In the first round of the tournament the Spartans played a close game with Cumberland, before losing 59-47.
The biggest news for the Spartans out of the tournament is they have new players stepping up to help with the scoring, which was the team’s biggest need. In the win over Ashland, junior Jacob Green came out of nowhere to score 21 points. Green had scored only 10 in the Spartans’ first four games of the season.
“For Jake it was a lot of getting in the paint and finishing well,” said Spartan coach Brent Larson.
Green hit 8-9 shots from two-point range and sank both of his free throws. He also hit a three-pointer and had three steals.
Another surprise offensive source in the win was junior Garret Hutera, who finished with a career-high 14 points. Hutera hit the offensive boards hard, with his five offensive rebounds being the main source of his points.
This game followed the blueprint Larson would like to see for every game. The Spartans committed a season-low 10 turnovers. They had a season-high 11 assists, led by four from point guard Tyler Ledbeter.
“We need to keep getting the ball in the lane, on passes and dribble drives,” Larson said.
The Spartans led 63-62 when Ledbeter drained a pair of free throws with 90 seconds left in the game. Ashland was fouled with five seconds left, but missed the front half of the bonus. Reggie Larson got the rebound and was fouled. He hit the first of his free throws to make the final margin four points.
Coach Larson used his bench extensively in both games of the tournament, using 10 players against Cumberland and 11 against Ashland. The players seeing action later in the game are those who performed well early in the game and those who performed well in practice.
In conjunction with going deeper on the bench, Larson had the team use full-court pressure in both games of the tournament.
“If we’re going to play 11 guys, we might as well get after it,” Larson said.
Against Cumberland, the Spartans used a 21-point second quarter to lead 27-23 at halftime. Somerset trailed by one heading into the fourth quarter.
In this game it was sophomore Luke Praschak who stepped up offensively. He scored three points in the Spartans’ first three games, but came through with 13 against Cumberland. Praschak hit both of his three-point attempts in the game.
Freshman Gaelin Elmore contributed eight points and eight rebounds to the Spartans’ totals against Cumberland. Danny Sheridan began finding his touch from three-point range, hitting three treys in the game. Senior Tommy Vanasse scored eight points.
The only game of the upcoming week for the Spartans arrives this Thursday. They will be playing at Amery against the winless Warriors.