(Photos by Josh Mills, Staff)
ORAN -- The 52nd Annual Oran Invitational rolled on Thursday night, and so did Scott County Central, as the Braves scorched the Cooter Wildcats, winning in blazing fashion 111-64.
"We came out like a house on fire," Scott Central head coach Ronnie Cookson. "(We had) a good first quarter. They never got into their game."
The good first quarter Cookson talked of, began from the tip-off as the Braves went on a 13-0 run to begin the game.
After a timeout by the Wildcats, they attempted to stop the bleeding with a field goal, putting a halt to the Scott Central run.
Scott Central added 14 more points to their 36, finishing up the first quarter, with a 50-8 lead.
The Braves weren't finished with their first half highlight reel, as the stellar play of Drew Thomas, capped off with a drop-step dunk over a Cooter defender, led them to an 82-24 halftime lead.
It was all substitutes for Cookson in the second half, as they added another 29 points in leu to the 111-64 victory.
Scott Central hit the century-mark with 3:48 left to play in the third quarter. "(Our) subs came in and played hard," Cookson said. "They've got a real good ball club. (But) It won't be (anything) like that tomorrow night."
The Braves were led in the shellacking by Thomas, who had 24 points, and was 6-for-9 from the charity stripe.
Bobby Hatchett added 20 points, while D.D. Gillespie and Caleb Johnson each put 17 apiece on the score sheet.
Toby Heeb added two three-pointers. Gillespie also had one three-point bucket.
Scott Central will now go up against the Bell City Cubs tonight in the championship game at 8 p.m.
The third game of the night show-cased the Bell City Cubs and the Twin Rivers Royals, but it was the Nick Niemczyk show that was the headline, as the Cubs pulled away to victory over the Royals by a score of 93-62.
Niemczyk led all scorers with 44 points, going 12-for-12 at the charity stripe, and adding six three-pointers.
Phillip Gross added 23 points en route to the Cubs' win.
In the loss column, Twin Rivers had a positive offensive showing from Kenny Johnson, who put 18 points on the board for the Royals, going 6-for-8 at the line.
Bell City finished up 26-for-33 at the free-throw line.
Twin Rivers falls to the third-place game, where they will face-off against Cooter tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Bell City finds themselves in a familiar spot, as they go head-to-head against the Scott Central Braves in another game that counts.
The Braves will be looking for revenge of a two-point defeat in the sectional round of last season's playoffs.
Friday's championship game will be played at 8 p.m.
In the first game of the night, Oran defeated the Advance Hornets 71-50.
Oran will now face Malden tonight at 5 p.m. in the consolation final. Malden defeated Kelly on Tuesday night to advance to tonight's game.
"It was big for that group to beat Advance," Oran head coach Denver Stuckey said. "Advance has beaten Oran for five or six years in a row."
"It was a good win for us," he added. "Especially for a young group to get the first one under their belt."
Oran was led by Kody Campbell, Cody Romas and Tyler Beardslee, on the offensive end as well as the defensive end.
"Romas and Campbell are the two that come back with experience," Stuckey said. "(We're) going to look for them to lead us, and they've done a good job so far."
Campbell finished the night with 25 points and was 5-for-10 at the line.
Beardslee added 14 points and Romas and Cody W. Dirnberger each added 10 in the victory.
The game was dead-locked after one quarter of play at 16 apiece, and the two teams matched each other's performance, until Romas hit a three-
pointer with five seconds remaining in the first half, to give Oran a slight edge, 34-31, going into the break.
The Eagles pulled away from there, and allowed just 19 points in the second half to the Hornets to seal the victory, setting a date tonight to play for the consolation prize.
Stuckey said that his squad will have a tough match tonight in the Green Wave.
"(Malden) is quick and athletic," Stuckey said. "We're going to have to take care of the basketball and make our easy shots and our free throws. I think we have a fighting chance."
The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Oran High School.