Somerset boys basketball plays sluggishly heading toward playoffsAs the second seed in the WIAA sectional bracket, there are high expectations for the Somerset boys basketball team in this year’s playoffs.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
As the second seed in the WIAA sectional bracket, there are high expectations for the Somerset boys basketball team in this year’s playoffs.
The play of the Spartans last week didn’t do much to instill faith in the team for the playoffs. The Spartans ended the regular season last Thursday with a 46-41 loss at Durand. That came two nights after the Spartans barely escaped a St. Croix Falls team that has won just twice this season, 58-52.
The loss to Durand leaves the Spartans with a 7-7 final record in the Middle Border Conference, where they place fifth. The Spartans move into the playoffs with a 14-8 overall record.
Somerset coach Brent Larson said, that with the WIAA seedings already set, the Spartans didn’t have much to play for in last week’s games. He’s hoping that changes on Friday, when the Spartans begin tournament play. They will host the winner of Tuesday’s game between Amery and St. Croix Falls.
The winner of Friday’s game will play again on Saturday in the regional finals, with the highest seeded team hosting the game.
The loss at Durand wasn’t Somerset’s finest showing. Coach Brent Larson said there was nothing riding on the game and it showed in the team’s play.
“There wasn’t a sense of urgency. I was a little disappointed in that regard,” Larson said.
Somerset led through much of the slow-paced first half and took an 18-13 lead into halftime. Larson said the team suffered a couple lapses in the offensive end late in the half that could have built the lead up to double digits.
Durand tied the game in the third quarter and pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. The Spartans got the margin down to one point with 2:10 left when senior Danny Sheridan sank a three-pointer. The Spartans had a chance to tie the game with 45 seconds left, but Jack Emmert’s three-point shot rimmed out.
Gaelin Elmore led the Spartans with 13 points at Durand and Emmert scored nine points.
Emmert carried the hot hand for the Spartans early in the win at St. Croix Falls. The Spartans built a 19-9 lead in the first quarter, scoring five three-pointers in the quarter. Emmert sank four of them, part of his 20-point performance.
The Spartans never could shake the Saints. The lead was 10 at halftime and nine after three quarters. But with a minute left in the game, St. Croix Falls hit a three-pointer that cut the margin to one point.
Missing the front end of four bonus free throw situations late in the fourth quarter left the Spartans vulnerable to a comeback.
Elmore led the Spartans with seven rebounds and contributed 10 points at SCF. Tyler Ledbeter was the team lead with five assists and Reggie Larson produced five rebounds.
With a week off before the start of the playoffs, Coach Larson said the team would be working to get re-energized for a playoff run.
“We have to play with great energy and great passion if we’re going to be in those games,” he said.