By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Tyler Abshear has played at Madison Southern for less than two seasons.
Still, the senior certainly has made a big-time impact.
Abshear had a game-high 19 points Tuesday in a 67-55 loss to East Jessamine and scored his 1,000th career point at the school. The senior passed the milestone with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Abshear started his career at Madison Central, but it took him just 48 games at Southern to reach 1,000 points.
“That’s pretty remarkable,” Southern coach Shane Buttry said. “He’s a tremendous player. It’s a credit to him. Sometimes transfers don’t work out. Most of the time it seems like they don’t. He has been one that has.”
Abshear’s milestone moment was the highlight of an otherwise less-than-memorable performance for Southern (11-7).
The Eagles shot just 31 percent and East Jessamine (16-6) was able to take control after the first quarter. The Jaguars opened the second quarter with a pair of big runs — 7-0 and 9-0 — and had a 34-21 lead at halftime.
“We missed a ton of layups,” Buttry said. “We would miss, then they would hit a three. There were five-point swings all over the place. With a team as good as they are, you can’t mess around and not take advantage of some opportunities.”
Southern took on East Jessamine last month in the finals of the Peoples Bank Classic in Berea. That game was battle until the end, with the Jaguars earning a 67-64.
The rematch wasn’t as competitive.
East Jessamine had a 48-30 lead after three quarters and pushed that advantage to more than 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“It got into points where we didn’t stop them, then we had to run a half-court offense and that’s not our strong suit,” Buttry said.
The Eagles had rolled to a 78-56 win Monday at home over McCreary Central and even though they rested many of their starters late in the game, Buttry thought playing on back-to-back days had an affect on his team.
“I think maybe we were a step slow,” Buttry said.
Abshear had just five points at halftime, but put together a strong second half. Michael Rothermel had eight points, Trevor Huff and Tanner Kidwell had five points each, Drew Taylor had four points, Stacy Burns, Devante Linville and Jake Napier each had three points, Damien Harris and Clayton Barnes had two points and Spencer Stone had one point.
In addition to Abshear reaching a very significant milestone, the game featured one other special moment.
During a ceremony at halftime, Stacy Burns, a freshman, and his father, Stacy Burns Sr., were presented with a donation of funds raised by the Madison Southern basketball team and its booster club.
Jennifer Burns, Stacy’s mother, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing treatment in Lexington. The team raised more than $1,000 for the family.
“They are part of our family, our basketball family,” Buttry said. “We knew that the right thing to do was to do something for them. They would do the same for everyone else. That’s a heck of a lot of more important than a basketball game.”