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Scott City nips Bell City in title game thriller

Sunday, December 7, 2003

(Photo)
Scott City defenders close in on Bell City's Derek Pobst.
ORAN -- Through Scott City's first two games, coach Lance Amick has been waiting for senior center Tyler Ward to play up to his 6-foot-9 frame.

In the final minutes of Friday night's Oran Tournament championship, Ward finally did, converting two huge 3-point plays to give the Rams a 59-56 win over Bell City.

"He stepped up and was the man that we needed him to be," said Amick. "He hit some clutch free throws. It was unbelievable."

Ward's first conventional three tied the game at 54-54 with 1:26 left. Bell City bled the clock down to 45.8 seconds, then Dominitrix Johnson penetrated the lane and put in a shot off the glass to make it 56-54.

The Rams then found Ward again low in the post with 36.1 seconds left. He was fouled putting up a shot, then sank the ensuing free throw to put Scott City up 57-56.

"It's just frustrating when you're one stop away and you don't get it two trips in a row," said Bell City coach David Heeb. "He's 6-9 and he's sealing right in front of the rim. He puts you in a tough spot. From where he's at, there's almost no way to get backside help."

Johnson took the ball the length of the court but had it knocked away with 20.1 seconds left, forcing Bell City to foul Mark Dannenmueller. After Dannenmueller hit both foul shots, Johnson attempted a 3-pointer but it was off its mark. Scott City's Jeremy Schlosser pulled down the rebound and was immediately fouled. His missed both attempts, but Ward came down with the rebound as time expired.

"I'm very excited for these kids," said Amick. "They've worked their butts off all summer long during open gym and in the weight room. They deserve this."

Bell City held a 26-24 lead at halftime, but Scott City came out hot in the third quarter, outscoring the Cubs 23 to 15 to go up 47-41. Dannenmueller played a large role in the Rams' surge, nailing three 3-pointers.

"He hit some big threes," said Heeb. "We tried to play a zone for a while to try and hide some foul trouble. He really brought us back out of it quick. You've got to give that kid credit. He shot really bad last night, but he came back tonight and hurt us bad. I thought he was the difference in the game."

Dannenmueller finished with four three pointers overall. He also had two field goals and hit 6-of-6 free throws to lead the Rams with 22 points.

"He's really a special player," said Amick. "Big time players hit big shots in big games. He did that for us tonight."

Bell City answered Scott City's run with a 3-point barrage of its own in the fourth quarter. Zak McIntyre had two treys and Johnson added another as the Cubs retook the lead 54-51.

"Bell City is a state championship-caliber team," said Amick. "They're going to make a run. I told the guys all pregame not to be content. They're too well coached and play too hard. They're never going to lie down."

Johnson had another stellar night for the Cubs, finishing with 31 points to lead all scorers.

"We wanted to make the other guys beat us and have Dom chuck it from the cheap seats," said Amick. "He still scores 31. It doesn't matter what defense you play -- you're not going to stop him."

Behind Johnson, Jeff Liggins scored 10. Zak McIntyre and Randy Conn each added six and Blaine Steward contributed three.

Bell City had a below average night at the foul line, hitting 8-of-16.

"My uncle used to always tell me, in a close game, free throws are going to win it," said Heeb. "We almost blew it last night. Tonight, it bit us."

For Scott City, Dannenmueller was followed by Ward with 17, Ryan Glastetter with 10, Mark Johnston with four, Jeremy Schlosser with three, Andy Beck with two and Steve Sanford with one.

"Bell City has won the state tournament before, but they've never won the Oran Tournament," said Amick. "That shows you what you're going to get here. It's a good tournament to get on a roll heading into the Christmas tournament seeds."

Twin Rivers 75, Scott Central 67

In the third place game, Twin Rivers coasted past Scott County Central 75-67.

Michael Lance paced the Royals with 28 points, followed by Matt Stanford with 19 and Jason Baucom with 13.

For Scott Central, Chris Pullen led the way with 25. He was followed by Andrew Pullen with 11 and Avis White with 10.

In the consolation championship, Kelly beat Richland 88-66. The Hawks were led by Chris Romas with 23 points and Brooks Edmond with 20. Trey Simmons scored 14 and Kendal Deason added 12.

For Richland, Corey Moore scored 22, Gentry Herrion had 11 and Jackie Smith added 10.

All-Tournament

First team All-Tournament was Bell City's Dominitrix Johnson, Twin Rivers' Michael Lance, Scott Central's Chris Pullen, Scott City's Mark Dannenmueller and Scott City's Tyler Ward.