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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Charleston sweeps District 2

Friday, March 5, 2004

Charleston's Ashton Farmer looks to shoot.
BLOOMFIELD - After Tuesday night's semifinal victory against Kelly, Scott City head coach Lance Amick hoped that his team would play the game of a lifetime against Class 3 powerhouse Charleston on Thursday.

For about 28 minutes in their District 2 matchup with the Bluejays at Bloomfield High School, it seemed the Rams were doing just that.

But in classic Charleston fashion, the Bluejays turned up the defensive intensity on their full-court press and turned the momentum and the game in their favor, capturing their third straight district championship 63-58.

The Bluejays (24-3) move on to the Class 3 Sectional at Poplar Bluff High School on Wednesday where they will play the winner of District 1 at 8:15 p.m.

For Scott City (22-5), it was a valiant effort which ended in heartbreaking defeat.

Charleston's Missy Whitney goes to score around a Kelly player.
"No one expected us to be in this ballgame and no one thought we could even play with them," said a teary-eyed Lance Amick, Scott City's first-year head coach. "But we came out and showed the heart and pride that all these kids possess. I'm so proud of my guys right now."

Scott City appeared to have No. 3 state-ranked Charleston on the ropes as they led 49-45 with four minutes remaining. But a series of mistakes, ranging from missed wide open layups to turnovers on the press allowed the Bluejays to take control of the game.

"Charleston's been in that situation three or four different times in the last four or five years -- my kids haven't," said Amick. "Sometimes pressure can do different things to different people. We just didn't react the right way."

Charleston, which beat the Rams 77-69 in December, led 13-5 after one quarter but Scott City rallied behind the strong play of 6-foot-4 junior Mark Dannenmueller, who had a game-high 26 points.

Scott City led 27-26 at the half and took a 43-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter on Dannenmueller's halfcourt bomb.

Charleston nearly killed their own chances as they missed nine of their first 12 free throw attempts.

"We're a bad free throw shooting team, I have to admit to that," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We don't shoot them that well, it's been like that the whole year. We didn't play very well, but we found a way to win."

But they clutched up down the stretch, making 7-of-8 free throws in the final 39 seconds.

Trailing 49-46 with 3:27 left, Bluejay point guard Marcus Biles scored on a drive to the hoop to cut the lead to 49-48. Biles then stole the ball on the press and went in for an uncontested layup to give the Bluejays a 50-49 lead just 10 seconds later.

Charleston would never trail again.

"We had to do something," said Farmer of his decision to go to the press. "They could've easily won the game. We had to get something going, had to create some turnovers and we were able to do that."

After stalling for a minute, Jamarcus Williams 14-foot jumper gave Charleston a 52-49 lead.

Scott City's Ryan Glastetter tied the game on a 3-pointer with 1:57 left, but Charleston's Ashton Farmer came back quickly with an inside basket to retake the lead.

The Rams' Mark Johnston connected on 1-of-2 free throws with 55 seconds left to cut the lead to 54-53. But Scott City wouldn't get any closer.

Farmer made both ends of a one-and-one free throw. Then Joshua Strayhorn picked off a pass on the press and shoveled the ball to Biles, who was fouled and made 1-of-2 from the line.

Scott City point guard Jeremy Schlosser made two free throws to cut the lead to 57-55 with 26 seconds left, but Williams answered with two more free throws to extend the lead back to four with 18 seconds left.

Seconds later, after a missed Schlosser free throw, Farmer put the exclamation point on the win with the second of one of his emphatic jams.

A Dannenmueller 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left and two Shawn Sherell free throws reached the final margin.

"I take my hat off to Scott City, they're a team that's been ranked in the state all year and they played a very good game," said Farmer. "Lance does a good job with them."

Things didn't start well for Scott City. After taking a 4-2 lead, Charleston senior Joshua Strayhorn stole the ball and finished off the fast break with a one-handed slam to spark an 11-0 run.

Charleston led 13-5 after one quarter.

With the Bluejays still leading 20-14 after a Justin Clark 3-pointer, Scott City made a run to close out the half, taking the lead on a Dannenmueller drive to the bucket.

Charleston tied the game four times and took the lead once in the third quarter, but Dannenmueller's half-courter sent the Scott City fans into a frenzy, which carried over into the fourth quarter.

Dannenmueller scored 20 of his 26 points in the middle two quarters.

"He's a player," said Farmer. "We wanted to stop him from hitting the trey. We kind of did that, but he had the little drive move that he could make too and hurt us getting to the basket. He's hard to contain."

The Bluejays did, however, contain Scott City's 6-foot-9 center Tyler Ward to nine points and Schlosser to five points.

"I thought we did a great job on the little guard (Schlosser) and the big guy (Ward)," said Farmer. "If all three of them got going then it would've been disastrous tonight."

Scott City's Ryan Glastetter chipped in with 11 points.

Farmer had a team-high 22 points with 10 rebounds and five steals. Biles added 14 points with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Strayhorn had only four points, but had five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Farmer also got huge minutes out of his three talented freshmen, Williams, Clark and Sherell, who combined for 19 points, much of which when all three were on the floor at the same time.

"The freshmen are very skilled, that's why I went to them," said Farmer. "At that time I felt I needed their skills in the game."

Charleston now has 23 district championships.

Scott City, which has won six district titles, hasn't won since 2000.

"It's sweet -- we had to battle for it, but we're going to be in battles if we keep going," said Farmer. "Southeast Missouri basketball is rough. Believe me, it's rough."

The Charleston Lady Bluejays claimed their first district championship since 1986 and their seventh overall with a thrilling 55-48 victory over Kelly.

Charleston will play the winner of District 1 in a Class 3 Sectional game on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Poplar Bluff High School.

"I think it's a big accomplishment," said Charleston head coach Kelly Barnes. "When we started out this season, we seemed a little slow, but the girls pulled together over Christmas. This is something they've really been working on. I think it will be good for the community. It pulls everybody together, this is the biggest crowd we've played in front of. It was just a great experience for all of us."

The Lady Hawks controlled most of the second half and were clinging to a four-point lead with two minutes remaining. But Charleston standout Missy Whitney took over, scoring 11 points in the final 1:38, including two 3-pointers.

The 6-foot-1 senior had a game-high 31 points with nine rebounds. She hit 13-of-15 from the free throw line.

The big blow came with Kelly leading 48-46, Whitney sank a well-guarded 3-pointer from the right wing with 37 seconds left to give the Lady Bluejays the lead.

They would not trail again.

"I had confidence in her," said Barnes of Whitney's 3-pointer. "Missy's a great ballplayer, she can do just about anything you ask her."

Charleston, which lost last year's district tournament with a 46-44 loss to Kelly, was hoping for a turn of fortunes this year.

"I think they really started playing with their hearts toward the end," said Barnes. "They've been really wanting this and they talked about it. Last year their hearts were broken when they lost. This year they really wanted it."

After taking a 13-6 lead after one quarter, things began to unravel for Charleston.

Whitney and 6-foot-2 center Shytoria Davis each picked up their third fouls midway through the second quarter.

With both on the bench, Kelly took advantage with a stifling full-court press.

Lady Hawk junior guard Kelly Essner scored 10 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Kelly a 27-24 lead at halftime.

Charleston rallied to retake the lead in the third quarter as Whitney and Davis established their presence in the paint as they combined for 12 points.

"We try to work it inside," said Barnes. "You put Missy in there, she's pretty well unstoppable. Shytoria has really improved this year. She didn't play a whole lot last year, but she has come a long way."

The Lady Bluejays (20-6) led by as much as six in the early fourth quarter but Kelly's tenacious defense allowed the Lady Hawks to get back in the game.

Barnes said fatigue played a role in the game.

"I feel like Kelly's girls are in a lot better shape than our girls," said Barnes. "They hustle and they play with their hearts, they always do."

An Essner 3-pointer tied the game at 41-41 and they were able to lead by as much as 47-43 on a Mindy Robert basket.

But a Whitney 3-pointer cut the lead to one. Senior Ashley Kern made 1-of-2 free throws to give Kelly a 48-46, but Whitney's second 3-pointer proved to be the deciding points.

Charleston finished the game on an 8-0 run.

Davis finished with 17 points with seven rebounds and six blocked shots.

Kelly (20-7) was led by Robert's 17 points. Essner had 16 points and numerous steals on defense.