NEW MADRID -- New Madrid County Central opened the 2001-2002 season with an impressive win over Blytheville Friday night, beating the Chickasaws 61-47 in a late-scheduled game. The Eagles had conducted just four practices heading into the contest, but showed no ill-effects.
"I was pleased with our effort," said NMCC coach Joby Holland. "The kids have been real excited about getting back into the gym and playing. We've got a long way to go, but it was a good ballgame for us. It was a good team effort."
Senior forward Ronland Ranson led the charge for the Eagles with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
"Ronland has worked real hard in the off-season to keep himself in good shape," said Holland. "I think he's back to the form everybody remembers when he was a sophomore. He played an excellent ballgame."
Dereke Tipler had 18 points for the Eagles, and 6-foot-6 center Derrell Minner contributed 14. Michael Diggs led all Blytheville scorers with 11.
NMCC scheduled the game as a tuneup before this week's Sikeston Invitational Tournament, after the Riverbend Classic was canceled.
"Blytheville has been playing for a while, and they've got a good program," said Holland. "It was a good test for us and we made it through. I hated to go into the (Sikeston) Tournament cold without playing a game. This game allowed us to get one under our belt, and hopefully it will help put us in the right direction."
KENNETT - The Portageville Bulldogs lost their season-opener in heartbreaking fashion, falling to the Kennett Indians 68-66 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by the Indians' Dustin Pritchett.
The Bulldogs led 66-65 when Dantwan Chillers made two free throws with 13 seconds left.
Kennett made its way up the court before having a shot swatted out of bounds with five seconds left. The Indians set up a double screen for Pritchett, who swished the game-winner from just left of the key.
"It's a tough way to lose," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell. "Pritchett is a tough player. We knew they were going to go to him, but we didn't think he was going to shoot a 3-point shot. He's just a good, all-around athlete."
Kennett (2-0) jumped out to a 12-2 lead to start the game but the Bulldogs fought their way back into it. Portageville led 50-48 entering the final quarter.
"We're just so far behind on fundamentals," said Bidewell. "We had 24 turnovers. You're not going to win ballgames with that many turnovers. But the kids played hard. I was really pleased with the effort."
Portageville was led by Eric Booker with 19 points. J.T. Williams had 13 points and Chillers added 11.
Pritchett led the Indians with 28 points. Julius Taylor followed up with 12.
"Kennett's always had our number early in the year," said Bidewell. "They've always been a tough team for us."
Portageville (0-1) will host Kelly Tuesday at 6 p.m.
DESOTO -- Senior guard Matt Cardin came off the bench to score 22 points as Cape Central defeated De Soto 70-65 Friday to give new coach Derek McCord his first victory.
De Soto jumped out to an 18-10 first quarter lead, behind 6-3 leaper Rodney Kelly's 11 points, before the Tigers went to a full-court press.
The press proved to be the answer as Cape Central forced turnovers and disrupted the Dragons' rhythm.
"We could have folded then," said McCord. "But I'm so proud of the way these guys bounced back against a very good basketball team."
Cape Central, with Cardin hitting for 13 points, outscored De Soto 20-15 in the second quarter to close the gap to 33-30 at the half.
The Tigers, who started three sophomores and two juniors, took control after the intermission with a 21-point third period, while holding De Soto to 12. The two teams played to a virtual standstill in the fourth quarter, with De Soto outscoring Cape Central 20-19. The Tigers' 79 percent free-throw shooting -- 26-for-33 -- was a huge key to victory.
Said McCord, "Everytime they made a run, we were able to answer."
Point guard Willie Colon was the second-leading Tiger scorer with 18 points, while Ryan Delph chipped in with 11.
Kelly led the Dragons with 27 points, followed by Andy Sides with 21.
"Our kids have really been working hard in practice," added McCord. "All we need is practice time, I think, to become a really good team."
MARBLE HILL -- For the third straight year, the Advance Hornets claimed the Woodland Tournament championship, this time beating sixth-seeded Meadow Heights 78-56.
Cain Kelley and Andrew Jenkins teamed up to score 41 of Advance's 78 points.
Kelley scored 21 and Jenkins followed with 20. Chris Walker added 12.
Advance led just 57-49 going into the fourth quarter, but the Hornets outscored the Panthers 21-7 in the final eight minutes to put the game away.
Josh Mayfield scored 23 points to lead Meadow Heights (3-1).
Woodland claimed the third-place game 82-80 despite a second-half surge by Delta.
Alex VanGennip led the Cardinals with 25, followed by Travis Benfield with 21 and Luke Johnson with 14.
Lance Kinder scored a game-high 34 to lead Delta. Joey Keys added 16 points, followed by Craig Bock with 13 and Matt Kinder with 10.
PERRYVILLE -- Doniphan outscored Perryville 17-12 in the final quarter as it overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to edge the Lady Pirates.
Doniphan, last year's Class 3A state runner-up, improved to 2-0 on the season. The loss was the first for Perryville (2-1).
Kristi Kennon scored 16 points to pace the Lady Dons while Brandi Cox added 14.
"Cox and Kennon hurt us pretty much," said Perryville coach Vicki Lohmann of Doniphan's two key players back from last season.
Senior point guard Amanda Nuyt scored a game-high 18 points for Perryville and sophomore Heather Lorenz added 14 points before fouling out.
The game was tied at 15 after one quarter and at 32 at halftime.
Despite mounting foul problems, Perryville moved ahead 46-42 by the start of the fourth quarter.
"It was pretty exciting," said Lohmann. "We had a lot of fans here and I think it was fun game to watch."
Some informationprovided by Southeast Missouri News Service.