(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
WEST PLAINS -- Although last Tuesday's victory over their arch-rival may seem like the biggest win of the season right now, the Scott County Central Braves know that defeating the Bell City Cubs will mean nothing if they do not succeed down the road.
"I hope it doesn't overshadow the next game," Braves head coach Ronnie Cookson said about their 80-58 win over the Cubs. "I hope the kids will move on past that game and focus on the next one."
The next one for them will be at the West Plains Civic Center, where they will try and tackle the Chadwick Cardinals in the Class 1 quarterfinals for a chance to play in Columbia.
Chadwick (24-4) defeated Verona in their sectional game, 56-51, to advance to the quarterfinals. The Cardinals have claimed three district titles in 1997, 2001 and 2008. They ended up finishing third in the state in 1997, which still remains their best finish in school history.
Four players average double digits in scoring for the Cardinals and all of them happen to be juniors.
The Cardinals are led by Shaun Thomas. Thomas averages 23.3 points a game and led the Cardinals with 20 points in their win against Verona.
Patrick Holt is averaging 18.9 points a game and Aaron Phillips averages 14.1 points a game. Phillips is also the leading rebounder for Chadwick, grabbing at least 5.4 per game. Nathan Hale rounds out the four, averaging 10.2 points a game.
"They've got some good ball players," Cookson said. "They can shoot the ball real well and their guards can handle the ball too. They also do a lot of pressing, so it should be a good game."
If you were to look at each teams' roster and compare the height chart, you might give the edge to the Braves.
As a team, Scott Central's average height is 5'10". Chadwick is slightly smaller with a 5'8" average.
"They've got a freshmen kid that is their tallest player," Cookson said. "But, as far as height is concerned, I think we match up with them just about as good as any team we've played this year."
The tallest players for both teams are freshmen. For Scott Central there is 6-
foot-2 Otto Porter, who has taken on more of a starting role here of late, and 6-foot-1 Seth Thomas from Chadwick. Thomas averages just under eight points a game.
Scott Central (26-2) will take their 19-game winning streak that stems all the way back from December with them on the road, in hopes of advancing to the final four.
The Class 1 quarterfinal between the Braves and Cardinals is scheduled to tip-off at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday.