Confidence game

Stonewall Jackson's Kory Somers, left, wrestles for the ball with Strasburg's Tyler Fincham on Dec, 5 in Quicksburg. Somers is averaging over 11 points per game this season for the Generals. Rich Cooley/Daily file

QUICKSBURG — Confidence is key.

Stonewall Jackson senior Kory Somers understands a lot about those words this season. It’s one of the reasons Somers has shined brightly for a Generals team that has struggled much of the season.

“I’m a lot more confident in myself and playing. That’s been the major turnaround, I feel like,” Somers said. “I just lacked confidence my sophomore and junior year.”

Somers said that he realized in practice at the beginning of the year that he was feeling more confident, and he knew he needed to be for the team this season.

Stonewall Jackson coach Patrick Smoot said that he and the coaching staff preach confidence to all of the players, and Somers has really bought into it.

“He’s a very confident kid. He wants the ball,” Smoot said. “He wants to score, which is something we’ve been missing. We’ve had one or two, now we’re starting to get four or five that want the ball, want to score and that’s a good thing.”

Somers, who also plays golf and baseball at Stonewall Jackson, said he only plays basketball during the season because he plays so many other sports.

His sophomore year, Somers said he didn’t get a lot of playing time, but the last two years have been very valuable for him leading into this season. Somers said being one of only three seniors on the team, he knew he needed to step up this year.

“I need to step up and be aggressive and help out everybody else on the team as well,” Somers said.

The 5-foot-11 Somers is averaging 11.1 points and is shooting 50.8 percent (65-for-128) from the floor.

Smoot said that Somers’ ability to score inside has been a big part of his success offensively this year.

“Around the basket he can contort his body and hang in the air and do some different things and still finish the shot, which has made him much more successful this year because he’s not the biggest kid on the court at all times,” Smoot said. “The way that he can finish and move is very good for a kid like himself to score.”

Somers is the only player on the team that has more offensive rebounds than defensive, and he said he likes rebounding, especially on offensive end.

Somers said he enjoys playing in the post and the challenge of going up against other players inside.

“You have to be physical to do it,” Somers said of playing in the post. “I feel like I’m strong enough to compete with those people inside. That’s where I get the majority of my points and rebounds. I just like the physical aspect of playing down low and in the post.”

Somers said he is trying to be more of a leader this year. Smoot said Somers is more of a quiet leader.

“He leads by example,” Smoot said. “He’s going to relax and he’s going to play his game, and he’s going to let people watch him and say, ‘Hey if he can do it, let’s feed off of that. He’s making great plays let’s build off of that.’ His leadership is by the way he plays.”

Somers’ senior season hasn’t gone the way he and his teammates have wanted. They started the season 0-14, before finally getting a win last week against Buffalo Gap.

The Generals lost a lot of close games, and finally getting in the win column was a welcome sight.

“We finally got a win, so hopefully that will spark us coming into the last two weeks of the season,” Somers said. “We’ve been right there through the majority of our games. It’s just come down to the last two minutes, final quarter that type of thing. So we’re a much better team than our record shows, and we finally showed that last [week]. If we continue to play as a team like we did then, we’ll continue to play well and the wins will come.”

Somers said the most important games of the season are ahead in the Conference 35 tournament and he’s hoping they can peak at the right time.

“I feel good where we are right now,” Somers said. “We came together as a team and we pulled one out, and I think we’ve been there all year. It’s just a little slip up here and there. We’d be fine if we would put 32 minutes together, instead of 28, 30 minutes together and then a turnover here and there at the end or a quick shot. I feel good about how we’re playing right now, and I think that will carry over through the rest of the season.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com