CHARLESTON - Ashton Farmer and Jamarcus Williams combined for 44 of Charleston's 66 points and led the Bluejays to a 66-58 victory over the New Madrid Central Eagles Tuesday night.
The Charleston Bluejays (10-7) built up a 53-34 third quarter lead over the visitors, but an Eagle rally in the final eight minutes pulled the visitors to within eight at the end of the contest.
In the early going of the contest, neither team could build much of a lead. The biggest lead of the period was three until the last eight seconds.
Farmer garnered seven points in the period to lead the way. Two steals and subsequent buckets with less than a minute left by Tavis Hamilton opened up a lead of six (19-13) at the end of one.
Joseph Howell led the Eagles with 21 points and teammate Quinton Binion also hit double figures with 13.
The Bluejays went to work in the first six minutes of the second period with Justin Clark nailing a trey at the 3:34 mark of the frame to give Charleston a 30-17 lead.
But New Madrid (2-10) finished the quarter on a high note as they outscored Charleston 11-2 in the last 2:08. The Eagles canned 7-10 free throw attempts in that stretch and trailed at the half 32-28.
The third quarter proved to be decisive. A very effective press by Charleston really took its toll on New Madrid. Turnovers caused by the Bluejays' defensive quickness added up and stifled the Eagle offense. When it was over, Charleston led by a 53-34 count.
"They played hard and fought hard, and I'm really proud of them. We played a really good team tonight and they played really well," said New Madrid coach Scott Kruse.
"We will not quit and we will continue to fight."
"We know they are a really good team (NMCC) because they play really good competition. Their record is no indication of how good they are, so we were lucky to win it. We did just enough to win and that's all we did," assessed Charleston coach Danny Farmer.
New Madrid played its best quarter of the game in the fourth, scoring 24 points to Charleston's 13, but the Bluejay advantage was too big to overcome.
Charleston won the jayvee contest 37-33.
Charleston will be at Scott Central Friday night while NMCC will travel to Cape to take on the Tigers.