"We wanted to come out and play a good game and get ready for the (seMissourian) Christmas Tournament," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "Play with a lot of intensity and turn our defense up."
Charleston (7-2) was hitting on all cylinders early, scoring every way imaginable -- inside, outside, in transition and off turnovers.
The hot-shooting Bluejays knocked down four 3-pointers in the opening quarter on the way to a 22-9 first-quarter lead. Junior sharpshooter Justin Clark hit two; Joseph Watts and Antonio Riggins had one each.
Said Farmer, "We want to establish the inside game with Jamarcus (Williams), then get some open (outside) looks. We feel we have some people that can hit that shot."
With the defense forced to respect the perimeter shot, the steady 6-foot-5 post Williams went to work inside for nine second-quarter points as the Bluejays went on a 17-2 run to close out the second period for a 45-19 advantage. Williams finished with a game-high 22 points.
Caruthersville's problems didn't end there. The taller, more experienced Bluejays controlled the backboards and produced numerous scoring opportunities off turnovers.
"We just got absolutely murdered on the glass in the first half," said Caruthersville coach Rob Harlow, whose starting lineup included two freshmen and two sophomores. "We're young, so we're going to have games like this."
The defensive catalyst for the Bluejays was lone senior starter, Tavis Hamilton. Hamilton was credited with four steals and initiated several others.
"He played a great defensive game," said Farmer.
In addition, Hamilton scored a personal season-high 19 points and dished four assists.
Clark, who ignited the Bluejays hot start with nine first-quarter points, finished with 15 including a crowd-pleasing slam, and also chipped in with six boards.
"They may be the most talented Class 3 team in Missouri, even without Sherrell and Thompson," said Harlow.
Oh, yes. The Bluejays were without injured starters Shawn Sherrell (deep thigh bruise) and Josh Thompson (broken fibula).
Sherrell is day-to-day, but Farmer is hopeful he will be ready for the Christmas Tournament, 10 days away. Thompson is not expected back until mid to late-January.
"We have to learn to play without Shawn and Josh," said Farmer, "and every game we're getting better and better at it."
The Bluejays got a workmanlike performance from junior reserve forward Jerrell Quinn, filling in for Thompson. Quinn scored eight points and shared rebounding honors with Williams at nine apiece.
"He's picking it up and really helping us on the boards," Farmer said. "As his defense improves, he will step right in as one of our top six or seven people."
Caruthersville (3-3) came to life a bit in the third quarter, outscoring the Bluejays 18-16. Charleston opened the final period with an 11-0 run, then turned the game over to reserves.
"I thought we did a better job in the second half," said Harlow, "but, right now, it's just baby steps."
Caruthersville was led by the 16 points of Jason Tate, including the Tigers' two treys. Kendrickus Reed and Rashad Fields added eight apiece.
Charleston, the No. 1 seed, will not return to action until an opening-round matchup against No. 16 Oak Ridge at the Christmas Tournament on Monday, Dec. 26, at 9 a.m.