(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
GIDEON -- Even without the presence of Hall of Fame coach Ronnie Cookson on the sidelines, the Scott County Central Braves did not miss a beat in the opening game of the Class 1 District 1 Tournament Monday night. The No. 1 seed Braves thumped the No. 8 seed North Pemiscot Mustangs, 94-37.
With Cookson absent from play due to personal reasons, the substitute for him was Scott Central's superintendent, Joby Holland.
"I thought they came out and played real hard," Holland said. "They seemed to be focused and gave a good effort. Especially, with coach Cookson being absent I was real pleased with their effort tonight."
The Braves rang up 38 points in the first quarter, which eventually would be enough to overcome the Mustangs, who put up a total of 37 points on the night.
With 1:52 left in the second quarter, Scott Central had a 52-22 lead. And went into halftime with a 63-22 advantage. With 1:58 seconds left in the third quarter, the Braves had scored 22 more points to finish their 33-2 run in almost an eight minute span to take a 85-24 lead going into the final quarter.
Scott Central caused the Mustangs to turn the ball over 31 times, which were converted into numerous baskets throughout the night. The Braves committed 10 turnovers themselves.
Drew Thomas lead the charge for the Braves with 23 points and nine rebounds. D.D. Gillespie finished with 18 points and six steals. Otto Porter added 16 points and brought down six rebounds, while Bobby Hatchett ended up with 13 points and recorded six assists to go along with his six steals.
Senior Grant St. Cin finished his last game with 22 points and four rebounds. St. Cin also hit two 3-pointers as well.
In the second game of the tournament, the No. 4 seed Oran Eagles pulled away in the fourth quarter to take care of the No. 5 seed Cooter Wildcats, 72-
Oran outscored the Wildcats 21-12 in the fourth quarter to take control of a close ball game through the first three quarters.
The Eagles were able to take a 16-10 lead at the end of one period, and still held a slight lead at halftime, 30-26.
After four lead changes, Oran took back their lead at the end of the third quarter, 51-45, only to increase their lead by going on a 16-4 run in the fourth quarter to close the book on the Wildcats.
"I thought we played pretty well," Eagles head coach Denver Stuckey said. "We got to see Cooter play earlier in the year at our tournament and I knew they'd be a tough contest. I think we wore them down a little bit in the fourth quarter and we just played really well."
Oran had five players score in double digits. Kody Campbell led all scores with 21 points. Campbell was also 7-10 from the free throw line and pulled down 13 rebounds.
Kurt Rendlemen finished with 14 points, while Cody Romas had 11 points and four steals. Klayton Kyle and Tyler Beardslee each finished with 10 points apiece.
Cooter was led by Aaron Brown and Aaron McCaig who finished with 12 points, respectively. Also, Nick Rinks ended up with 10 points, while Charles Copeland and Nathan Poe added eight points. Poe grabbed nine rebounds and also, Brown and Copeland recorded five rebounds apiece. Brown, Rinks and Poe are all seniors.
Oran now moves into the semifinal round where they will face the Scott County Central Braves for the fourth time this season. Oran has suffered defeat in all three other meetings.
"What can you say," Stuckey said. "I guess if you going to play the state champions you might as well do it early. We got a great opportunity with nothing to lose. We can get beat by 30 like we're supposed to or we can play them well and beat them. Nothing but good things can happen I guess."
The semifinal game will be tonight at 6 p.m., following the Scott Central/Risco girls game.
The No. 6 seed Risco Tigers fell to the No. 3 seed Gideon Bulldogs, 79-63, on Monday night, ending the Tigers season with a 8-15 record.
"It was probably better than the score indicated," Risco head coach Brandon Blankenship said. "We battled through though and I was proud of the kids."
Risco did have a two-point advantage after the first quarter, 20-18, but was outscored by six points during the second to fall behind, 37-34, at the break.
During that first half, senior Kyle White for Risco, and senior Jordan Boone for Gideon, seemed to be exchanging baskets. White finished the first half with 19 points, while Boone ended up with 21 first half points and connected for five 3-pointers as well.
"They had a good battle going," Blankenship said. "But, Boone had a tremendous second half, while we never got an extra guy to step up in the scoring column and help us out."
Boone finished the game with 43 points and hit seven 3-pointers. White only managed 10 more points to finish with 29, while no other Tiger reached double digit scoring.
Risco is losing seven seniors: Kyle White, Keith Kimball, Kyle Hayes, Michael Davis, Justin Brant,Tim Huskisson and Nick White.
"We're losing quite a few seniors this year," Blankenship said. "We will miss all of them very much. This team was a good bunch to coach."
Clarkton won the other first round game 74-40 over Delta C-7. Clarkton will take on Gideon tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. with the winner to face the Scott Central/Oran winner Thursday for the district championship.