SOMERSET — The Somerset Eagles played their most complete basketball game so far this season Friday in a 74-60 win over Richland.
The Eagles (10-5) received stellar play from the bench to go along with the effort the starters provided, head coach Scott Close said of his injury-riddled team on Orange Crush night.
"We had guys stepping in and stepping up," Close said. "I liked the way we played defense. We have always tried to run 10-11 guys because it's high school basketball and you're going to need help somewhere down the line. I can't say enough of our regulars stepping up and our other guys feeling comfortable and doing a phenomenal job."
Senior Brent Barron led the Eagles with a game-high 26 points. He also had 10 rebounds. Barron's 3-pointer with 3:37 left in the third quarter put Somerset up by five, which was the largest lead of the game up to that point.
Richland called a timeout to regroup, but a cold-shooting streak allowed the Eagles to build a 60-54 advantage by the end of the quarter.
"Once we got down by seven, it is tough to come back, especially on them," head coach Greg Burke said. "It is tough playing zone when your legs are tired and the shots aren't falling.
"We had Bishop McCort Thursday. We are playing three games a week the rest of the season. Friday games are going to be a mental struggle for us. We weren't very crisp in the second half and that was the difference. Our defense played the same, but a couple balls falling here or there would have kept us in the game."
Matt Shaffer led the Rams (7-4) with 19 points, including 12 points in the first half. He also had 10 rebounds. Aaron Miller contributed 13 points. Kyle Flick had 12 points and Luke Shertzer added 11 points in the loss.
The teams traded points and scoring opportunities in the first half, with neither team leading by more than four points. It was 19-19 after one quarter and Richland led 35-33 at the half.
Somerset's Zane Helsley dropped in 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Jake Close added 13 points and Marcus Hart contributed 11 points including three 3-pointers off the bench.