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Friday, July 25, 2014

High-flying Bluejays soar

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

(Photo)
Deshaundray Hamilton scored 10 points in Charleston's 71-56 win over SEMO Conference rival NMCC on Tuesday
(File photo)
CHARLESTON - The opening possession for Charleston in its SEMO Conference matchup with New Madrid County Central gave a sign of what was to come on Tuesday at Charleston High School.

After a couple of missed putbacks by 6-foot-8 center Kewain Gant, Charleston's 6-6 sophomore Ashton Farmer followed up one of the misses with an emphatic slam dunk.

That was the way things went for the high-flying Bluejays as they had five crowd-pleasing slams in a 71-56 win.

The Bluejays (13-3, 3-0 SEMO Conference) never trailed in the game, racing out to an 18-3 lead in the first quarter and never looking back.

The dunking exhibition left NMCC head coach David Fields in awe after the game.

"If there's a better 3A team in the state then I don't want any part of it, at least not right now," said Fields. "Charleston's pretty darn tough."

NMCC (4-9, 0-1 SEMO) hung around for most of the game but never could get within striking distance.

The Bluejays' post combo of Gant and Farmer dominated the inside. Gant scored 21 points with eight rebounds and five blocked shots while Farmer had 15 points with seven rebounds.

"I thought we were really hitting the offensive boards," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We've been doing that much better the last three games. I was pleased with our effort but I thought that we could've played better."

Charleston's guards also controlled the game as the Bluejays recorded 12 steals.

All five Charleston starters reached double figures in scoring on the night.

"That's good -- that's the way we want it," said Farmer. "Last year we relied on just one or two to do the scoring. This year we have five or six."

After the Bluejays led 18-3, NMCC closed the gap to 20-9 by the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles got as close as eight in the second quarter but they wouldn't get any closer.

The Bluejays were able to pull away to a 36-23 lead by halftime.

"We've been on the road all year and this is as hostile a place as we've played," said Fields. "We're young and I'll admit that we were a little shell-shocked and intimidated coming in here with all these banners hanging. Plus their size was intimidating. There aren't many teams around with that kind of size."

The Eagles made a run in the third quarter with some hot outside shooting to get as close as eight, but the Bluejays responded towards the end of the quarter to lead 57-43.

NMCC never got closer than 12 the rest of the way. The Bluejays' biggest lead was 17 points.

"I thought New Madrid really played well -- they made some unbelievable shots," said Farmer. "They were banking in 3s and hitting some tough shots when we had a hand in their face. New Madrid's an improved team."

The Eagles hit seven 3-pointers in the game, including five by Mack Kimble, who tied for game-high honors with 21 points.

"Mack's been playing like this the last three games now," said Fields. "He has a quick first step and tremendous leaping ability. I didn't think we shot lights out. But if we were going to play with Charleston we had to have a good perimeter game because of their size."

Charleston will travel to play Scott County Central on Friday at 6 p.m. NMCC will play at Cape Central on Friday at 6 p.m.

NMCC won the junior varsity game 49-37. The Eagles were led by Eugene Cooper's 18 points. Tavis Hamilton led Charleston with 12 points.