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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Bluejays, Tigers ready to clash

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Kyle Hubbard
POPLAR BLUFF - There will be no shortage of athletes on the floor when the Charleston Bluejays and Caruthersville Tigers meet in a Class 3 Sectional game tonight at 8:15 at Poplar Bluff High School.

Perhaps the two quickest teams in the area will meet in a rematch of a game on Dec. 19, when the Bluejays won at home 50-49.

Charleston (24-3) will be looking to win its third straight sectional game while Caruthersville (20-8) is in the playoffs for just the second time in school history, also making it in 2001.

"I think we're going to have to bring our 'A' game," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "It's playoff time and I know Caruthersville is going to come gunning for us. We only beat them by one the first time we played them. We've both played tough schedules throughout the season. They're accustomed to battles like we are."

Both teams had nailbiters in their district championship. Charleston edged state-ranked Scott City 63-58 while Caruthersville came from 13 points behind to beat 58-44.

Ashton Farmer
Farmer is hoping that his team can contain Caruthersville's two quick guards, Marshane Foreman and Chad Benson.

Charleston will counter with ultra-quick Marcus Biles and seniors Trentez Lane and Joshua Strayhorn (6-3).

"I think they're quicker than we are," said Farmer. "They were cold against Twin Rivers in that first half. We don't want them to penetrate, we've got to cut that off. We're going to make them hit that trey on us."

But Charleston will have the edge in the paint with 6-foot-6 Ashton Farmer and 6-4 freshman Jamarcus Williams towering over Caruthersville's post players.

"We're going to try to keep a body on him and stay physical with him and try to keep him away from the basket," said Caruthersville head coach Brian Brandtner. "If he catches the basketball, we just have to make sure he's shooting over somebody. If we can do that, I think we can be successful."

Both teams have played difficult schedules, but Caruthersville may be even tougher, which includes the Poplar Bluff Showdown, the Superman Classic and the Bootheel Conference.

Caruthersville stunned many observers when they won the brutal Superman Classic in January. They also claimed a tournament title by winning the Bootheel Conference tourney.

Charleston won the Sikeston Invitational, but came up short in the seMissourian Christmas Tournament.

"After we won the Superman Classic, the first thing we talked about in the locker room was it's a great preparation for our district tournament," said Brandtner. "Now we've accomplished that, and now we've got to keep setting new goals. Now we've got to seize the opportunity. When you look back at the game, you don't want any regrets."

Charleston, ranked No. 3 in the state, comes into the game with an unparalleled tradition on the hardcourt in Class 3. While Caruthersville, ranked No. 9, is certainly not known as a basketball power.

"We have respect for them, but we're not in awe of them," said Brandtner.

"Playing them at their place early in the year, it's tough to take a positive from a loss, but we know we can play with them. I think we've both gotten better. We're just having the time of our lives. We're just going to play as hard as we can and hope for the best."