NEW MADRID -- The Charleston Bluejays defeated the New Madrid County Central Eagles 63-48 in a SEMO Conference tilt on Tuesday at New Madrid.
All Charleston coach Danny Farmer wanted was a win as he faced his former mentor Lennies McFerren.
"It's kind of hard to come in here and play them," said Farmer. "We (McFerren and Farmer) go back a long way and there's a lot of respect there.
"They're down this year so we just wanted to win and not try to embarrass anybody."
NMCC (2-10, 0-2 in the conference) made it a game early, rallying from a 15-6 first-quarter deficit.
Two pinpoint passes for assists by Jordan Kimball, followed by Kimball's 3-
pointer -- on successive plays -- pulled the Eagles to within four at 17-13. With Charleston leading 18-13 and time ticking down, the Eagles got a little help from the Bluejays on the final play of the period when guard Tarrard Long was fouled on a desperation 3-point shot with one second left. Long sank all three foul shots to close the gap to 18-16.
Ironically, the first play of the second quarter was also a foul on a NMCC 3-
point shooter. Kimball, who scored a team-high 11 points including the Eagles only two 3s, hit 2-of-3 free throws to tie the score at 18.
The Eagles then took their lone lead of the game at 20-18 on sophomore Leslie Williams' driving layin.
But it was downhill from there as the Bluejays went to work on a 20-2 run to take a commanding 38-22 lead at the half, the final three points on a mid-
court bank shot by Tavis Hamilton at the buzzer.
Hamilton and Justin Clark topped the Bluejays with 10 each of their team-
high 13 points in the first half.
Jamarcus Williams and Antonio Riggens finished with 12 apiece.
Hamilton, Clark and Riggens each hit two 3s, Williams one.
It was the production of the freshman Riggens, who has been in a shooting slump of late, that brought a smile to Farmer's face.
"That was the bright spot tonight," he said. "He's shooting it better and we need that. When we went through our losses, he wasn't scoring anything. We've got to have him shooting it."
Charleston (12-4, 4-1) extended its lead to 56-33 as the third quarter expired, then cleared the bench for most of the final period.
NMCC outscored Charleston 15-7 in the fourth quarter.
During the waning moments of the game, Charleston's starting senior forward Josh Thompson, although visibly limping, made his first appearance since a broken fibula sidelined him on Dec. 9.
In an exciting junior varsity contest, NMCC outlasted Charleston 42-41.
Patrick Guest sank two clutch free throws with 12 seconds left for the win.
Guest led the Eagles with 12 points, while Josh Minner and Justin Beasley added eight each.
Brian Parham and Jerquawn Sherrell paced the Bluejays with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
On Friday, Charleston hosts Scott County Central and NMCC hosts Cape Central in a SEMO Conference matchup.