Top seeds advance in opening round
ORAN - The 47th Annual Oran Invitational Tournament got underway on Monday at Oran High School.
There were no surprises in the first round as all scheduled games went according to seed.
Top-seeded Twin Rivers rolled over No. 8 Richland 84-23, No. 2 Bell City raced past seventh-seeded Scott County Central 95-63, and No. 3 Oran held off No. 6 North Pemiscot 72-60.
The three winning teams advance to the semifinals, which will be played on Thursday. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Twin Rivers will play the winner of today's game between Kelly and Gideon, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Bell City and Oran will play Thursday at 8 p.m.
Today's other game will pit Scott Central and North Pemiscot at 6 p.m. in the consolation semifinal.
Under new head coach Chance White in his first game, Richland was overmatched by the larger Twin Rivers Royals.
"Any time you see the No. 1 seed on a bracket and you've got to play them, you've got to cringe a little bit," said White. "But when you have nothing to lose that should motivate you as a player."
Twin Rivers jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter before the Rebels could get on the board.
The Royals led 24-6 after one quarter and 49-11 at the half. Twin Rivers led 74-19 heading into the final quarter. The mercy rule kept the clock running the entire fourth quarter.
"We just wanted to come out and play like we've been practicing," said Twin Rivers head coach Scott Kruse. "I was real pleased. They played hard. We kept it clean, that's what I like. Sometimes in games like that you have a tendency to get sloppy, but we didn't."
Twin Rivers was led by 6-5 junior Jason Baucom with 24 points. Senior guard Robbie Moore added 20 points while freshman Michael Lance had 13.
Richland's only double figure scorer was Scott McGarity with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
McGarity is the only player on Richland's roster that saw significant playing time last year.
"We just didn't get it done on the offensive or defensive end tonight," said White. "We've just got to learn how to execute. We got a little pressure on us, we didn't handle it, and we didn't execute. It's as simple as that. They're good kids, but they don't have a lot of experience. We just need to get back to work in practice."
Bell City, the defending state champions in Class 1, picked up right where they left off in March.
The Braves simply couldn't keep up with the Cubs' fast-paced, high-scoring offensive approach.
Scott Central trailed 14-8 before the Cubs ended the quarter on a 5-0 run to lead 19-8. The lead swelled to 20 midway through the second quarter on a Kenyon Wright 3-pointer, one of four shots from downtown the senior would hit on the night.
Bell City led 46-23 at halftime and extended the lead to 70-39 entering the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Bell City was led by returning all-stater Dominitrix Johnson's 27 points to go with his 10 rebounds. Seventeen of his points came in the second half.
Eric Henry, anther returning all-stater, scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half. He also had a game-high 20 rebounds.
Wright pumped in 14 of his 22 points in the second half.
Scott Central was led by 6-4 junior Chris Pullen with 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
No other Brave reached double figures.
In the best game of the night, heavily-favored Oran had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
The Eagles fell behind 55-51 when the Mustangs' Brandon McCulloch buried a 3-pointer with a little over five minutes remaining in the game.
Oran responded though, going on a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. A Ryne Wood 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:45 left put the Eagles on top.
The Eagles took care of business from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, hitting 12-of-14, to seal the victory.
"I thought we played good enough to win, that's about it," said Oran head coach Mitch Wood. "Our effort wasn't as good as what I'd like to see. But it was just good enough to win. Effort's something you can give out every night when you go out. And I felt like we gave a poor tonight."
Oran looked sharp early, taking an 11-2 lead to start the game. They led 15-8 after one quarter of play. But from that point on, the game was tight.
The Mustangs went on an 11-2 run in the second quarter highlighted by a Shaviste Grandberry one-handed slam on a fast break, giving his team a 27-22 lead.
Oran did recover as Nathan Seyer's basket gave the Eagles a 31-29 halftime lead.
Seyer was questionable to even play before the game due to an illness. But the senior came through in a big way, leading the Eagles with 20 points on the night in limited action.
"Seyer was about half speed and he stepped up and scored 20 for us," said Wood. "That's the type of kid he is -- he played hard when he had to. We've got some sickness, but who's to say at the end of the year that you won't have any sickness? You've got to be ready to play. Other kids have got to step up and I don't think anybody stepped up and tried to take his place tonight."
Ryne Wood, who entered the fourth quarter with just five points, ended up with 16 points. He made all six of his free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Cookson added 11 points for the Eagles.
The Mustangs played well in the third quarter to take a 48-47 lead heading into the final frame.
"They're a good ballclub -- they're not bad," said Wood. "If we take care of the ball and put out a little more effort then I feel like we would've taken care of them. But they're the type of team that if you don't come out and play hard and play well then you'll get in trouble."
But Oran's free throw shooting and tough defense allowed the Eagles to pull away in the fourth, out-scoring North Pemiscot 25-12.
North Pemiscot was led by McCulloch's 18 points. Grandberry had 14 and Erik Camp had 11.
"Our defense was horrible tonight," said Wood. "We didn't recover well, our transition defense -- we didn't do a good job of that. We will do a better job with that."