Charleston survives comeback; wins in OT
CAPE GIRARDEAU - For a while in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's Class 2A Sectional game with Charleston, it appeared the resilient Twin Rivers Royals would do it again.
Five days after pulling off a thrilling comeback against state ranked Portageville in the district tournament, the Royals nearly doubled their pleasure with another come-from-behind win.
But the Bluejays had other ideas as they withstood the run to win in overtime 67-63 at Cape Central's Tiger Field House.
Charleston (20-8) will meet Lutheran North on Saturday night at 8:15 at Park Hills Central High School in the 2A Quarterfinals.
It's Charleston's first appearance in the quarterfinal round since the Bluejays' state championship run in 1996.
"I'm thrilled," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "I made a statement earlier that if we got to the quarterfinals, I think we could go to state. And I still feel that way. I think my guys finally believe that they can accomplish something. In the past five years, even though the tradition was there, I don't think they believed. But now they're working hard and they think they can reach it."
But had it not been for one second, the Bluejays would've been turning in the gear for the season.
With the game tied at 58-58 with 1:16 left, Twin Rivers worked for a game-winning shot in regulation.
With the clock ticking down, the Royals' Seth McBroom forced a tough shot that was off the mark. After one offensive tip airballed, the Royals' Scott Wilkerson grabbed the offensive board and scored but it was clearly after the buzzer had sounded, forcing the overtime period.
"Another second on the clock and we get a tip-in a win it," said Twin Rivers head coach Scott Kruse. "It didn't surprise me that we came back. I was thinking about the Portageville game a little bit, and then we took the lead, I was thinking that we were going to win this one too."
Twin Rivers (24-5) trailed by as much as 12 in the first half and as much as seven early in the fourth quarter.
But a 3-point barrage by the Royals their first lead of the game with 4:20 left.
"I was very leery at that point," said Farmer. "The first thing that entered my mind was Portageville. That's all I could think about, with the way they lost the game and I was thinking, 'oh my, don't tell me it's getting ready to happen again.'"
The Bluejays didn't help themselves in the fourth quarter, making just 2-of-8 from the free throw line. They were just 18-of-38 in the game.
The Royals still held a 58-55 lead with 1:28 left on two Robby Moore free throws, but 12 seconds later, the Bluejays' Lezcano Dean jab-stepped behind the arc for a game-tying 3-pointer, which eventually forced the overtime.
"They jumped up and hit some shots that we probably can't guard," said Kruse. "We can't guard Lezcano Dean jumping up in the corner and knocking down that 3, because we did about as good a job as I could want. I honestly thought they might call a foul on that because we were right there. That was a big 3."
In the overtime, freshman Ashton Farmer got the Bluejays going with a fast break jam. Twin Rivers' Steve Deken gave the Royals a short-lived lead on a conventional 3-point play on the ensuing possession.
Charleston maintained the lead the rest of the way. The Bluejays' Dontay Clark, who swatted away a game-tying 3-point attempt with 15 seconds left, iced the game with a free throw with 10 seconds remaining.
Trentez Lane came off the bench for Farmer, who was injured, and hit three free throws.
"I thought there for a while that our free throw shooting was going to kill us," said Farmer. "But all year long we hit our free throws when it counts. We made them at the end of the game when we needed to."
The Bluejays started the game on fire, taking a 17-8 lead after one quarter.
Charleston opened up a 12-point lead twice in the second quarter but the Royals were able to cut it to 31-26 by halftime.
The two teams played to a stalemate in the third quarter with Charleston leading 46-41 heading into the final frame.
"I didn't realize Twin Rivers was that good -- they have an excellent team," said Farmer. "But our tough schedule has paid off. We played New Madrid, and played both Sikeston and Jackson twice. I thought Sikeston was one of the best defensive teams in Southeast Missouri -- they really put the pressure on. And that helped us. When you're in dogfights, I think you know how to handle dogfights when it comes to the end."
The Bluejays had trouble with the 6-foot-7 Deken, who tied for game-high honors with 22 points, including 10-of-11 free throws. But he only managed three points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.
"He's a lot tougher than I thought he was," said Farmer. "He showed me tonight how tough he was. He was determined to score for a while. Right there at the end he didn't score very many and I think he got a little tired. I think our gameplan worked, we were able to wear them down."
McBroom and Robby Moore each scored 10 for the Royals, who were making their first playoff appearance since 1995.
Charleston was led by Dean's 22 points. Jordy Mixon added 18 points for the Bluejays.
"They're athletic as can be," said Kruse. "They crash the offensive boards better than any team we've played all year. Lezcano's got the potential to hit shots that a lot of high school players can't hit. Mixon hits a lot of shots on the inside. They're dangerous. They've got a real chance if they can play disciplined and take advantage of their athleticism."