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Bluejays hold off Kelly for championship, 62-57

Monday, March 7, 2005

Charleston head coach Danny Farmer congratulates players.
POPLAR BLUFF - It never seems to get any easier, but the Charleston Bluejays basketball team always finds a way to get it done.

For the fourth straight year the Bluejays captured the Class 3, District 2 championship with a hard-fought 62-57 win against top-seeded Kelly on Saturday at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff.

Charleston, seeded second, avenged a loss back in December to the Hawks behind Ashton Farmer's game-high 26 points.

Charleston (19-9) will play state-ranked Portageville on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at Poplar Bluff High School in a Class 3 Sectional matchup.

Kelly finishes its season at 21-6 which is the most wins they've had since the 1997-98 season.

Kelly's Kendal Deason drives around Charleston's Justin Clark.
Saturday night the Bluejays overcame the long-range bombs from the Hawks' Deason twins, Kendal and Kent, and their teammates' relentless work on the offensive glass.

Kelly's game-plan appeared simple against the bigger, more athletic Bluejays -- fire up 3-pointers and if they don't fall, grab the offensive rebound.

"Kelly is tough on the boards and when they get that second shot, that's how they beat most teams," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "You can't live by that 3-pointer. I don't believe in living by the 3. They shoot it and hope to get the offensive rebounds. We were wanting to give them one shot and not give them any offensive rebounds. I think we did that and I think that's why we won the game."

After falling behind by as much as 10 points in the third quarter, Kelly fought back to tie the score at 51-51 on a Clay Mothershead inside basket with 2:21 left.

But Charleston quickly got the lead back on a short jumper by sophomore point guard Shawn Sherrell.

On the ensuing trip, Farmer got loose on a fast break and finished with a two-handed slam while being fouled with 1:46 left to lead 55-51.

After missing the free throw Mothershead was fouled on the rebound, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Sherrell then hit another short jumper to push the Bluejay lead to 57-51 with 1:19 left.

Kendal Deason then hit a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left to cut the margin to 57-54 but that was the Hawks' last gasp.

Farmer made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 58-54 with 35 seconds left. On the ensuing trip, Deason turned the ball over to Sherrell, who was fouled. After making the first free throw, he missed the second only to see Jamarcus Williams get the offensive rebound.

He made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 60-54 with 24 seconds left.

Sherrell added two more free throws to push the lead to eight before Trent Walters made a 3-pointer with three seconds left to reach the final margin.

"It was an exciting game," said Kelly coach Cory Johnson. "The athletic ability that Charleston has is just almost overwhelming. The way they play and as strong as they are and the way they jump and the things they do offensively and defensively, it makes it tough for any team to beat them."

The Deason twins' hot shooting helped the Hawks seize the first quarter lead.

Charleston led 7-2 early on but Kelly started heating up. Kent Deason buried back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Hawks their first lead of the game at 12


After the Bluejays cut the lead to 16-15 on a Justin Clark 3-pointer, Kendal Deason nailed an NBA-range 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to extend the Hawks' lead to 19-15.

Kelly held its biggest lead of 21-15 on an inside basket by Kendal Deason at the start of the second quarter.

But Charleston took charge of the game from there, outscoring Kelly 17-8 in the quarter to take a 32-27 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Kendal Deason's 3-pointer cut the lead to 36-34 with 4:

11 left but Charleston responded with an 8-0 run highlighted by the 6-foot

-6 Farmer's fast break jam.

"I think we just lost sight of (Farmer) a couple times and he looks for that a lot," said Johnson. "He wants to leak out sometimes and get the crowd rising with some dunks. We just lost sight of him and he was able to get some easy buckets."

Josh Thompson's inside basket with 12 seconds left gave the Bluejays their biggest lead at 44-34 but Kent Deason's 3-pointer at the third quarter horn cut it to 44-37 heading into the fourth.

The Hawks steadily chipped away at the Bluejay lead in the fourth before eventually tying it on Mothershead's basket but they went cold the rest of the way as Charleston controlled the rebounds in the final two minutes.

Farmer scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half.

He got some scoring help from Williams (14 points) and Sherrell (11).

Kendal Deason had 22 points, including four 3-pointers. Kent Deason had three 3-pointers for 14 points.

"I was telling my kids I think Deason is the best shooter in this area that we've faced with some defense on him," said Farmer. "Both brothers are very tough."

Kelly loses a strong senior class, including both Deasons, Walters, Derek Felter, Michael Glastetter and Mothershead.

"I couldn't be prouder of what we accomplished this year," said Johnson. "The teams that we've beaten and going undefeated at home and finished second in the Christmas Tournament as a seven seed. We really came together and I'm really proud of these kids, especially my seniors. I hate to lose a group with the leaders they are, all six of them. That's what got us where we were."