Spencer Ayers scores 35 points as Kelly defeats Scott County Central
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- There were few surprises in the opening round of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament at the Show-Me Center on Monday.
All of the higher seeds held true until the final two games of the evening.
No. 10 Meadow Heights pulled the first upset with an 82-71 win over No. 7 Scott City, then, in a mild upset, No. 9 Kelly bested No. 8 Scott County Central 77-66 in the nightcap.
Kelly rode a 35-point performance by junior post Spencer Ayers, the only Hawk in double figures.
"We knew from playing them previously this year that they really pressured up front and, if we could get the ball to the middle of the floor and get it down low, we could punch it inside,? said Kelly coach Corey Johnson.
The Hawks, last year's Cinderella team with a runner-up finish, outscored cold-shooting Scott Central 20-9 in the first quarter.
The Braves (3-4) failed to score a field goal until the 3-minute mark of the first period. In addition to its poor field-goal shooting, a woeful performance from the free-throw line also hindered Scott Central as they hit only 3-of-10 free throws in the quarter - 19-of-35 for the game.
"We've got a lot of potential, but right now, we're our own worst enemy," said Scott Central coach David Heeb, of his youthful Braves. "We gave them a lot of points. They (Kelly) worked for them and we didn't."
The Braves full-court pressure in the second quarter forced several Hawks' turnovers as they trimmed the margin to five at the half, 34-29.
Ayers' eight points kept the Hawks in contention while senior Pershard Owens, the Braves leading scorer with 19 points, scored nine in the period.
On the effectiveness of Scott Central's press, Johnson said, "When we want the basketball, we can handle pressure, but, at times, we've got guys that don't want the ball in their hands and we've got to correct that. We've got to have five guys on the floor that want the basketball and not expect someone else to take control."
In the third quarter, Ayers, with 11 points on a variety of post moves and putbacks, helped the Hawks to a 59-45 advantage.
Trailing by 11 at 66-55 with about 4 minutes to go in the final period, Scott Central made a run to narrow the gap to six at 68-62 with 1:40 left. Two crucial free-throw misses by Kelly appeared to leave the door open, but Jordan Felter's rebound and putback of the second miss gave the Hawks a huge lift and a little more breathing room at 70-62.
"We've got to do a better job of blocking out," said Heeb. "When our shots aren't falling, we've got to do the other things better like blocking out and playing defense."
Scott Central's Caleb Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:18 left to cut the margin to 70-65, but Kelly (6-2) capitalized from the charity stripe as the seconds ticked away. Brandon Ayers and Dallas Tew sank two key free throws apiece to hold the Braves at bay.
Kelly meets No. 1-seed Charleston today at 4:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year's second-round game, won by the Hawks.
Said Johnson, "If we can control the basketball, there's no telling what can happen. I think we can play with anybody, but if we make as many unforced errors as we have in the past, as well as tonight, it could be a long night for us."
Scott Central faces Oak Ridge in a consolation bracket game at 1:30 p.m.
Adrian Cox had a game-high 22 points for Central. Darnell Wilks had 18, David Deisher had 11 and Jeremy Kimble added 10.
The Tigers held Woodland's Seth Gaines, who entered the game averaging more than 26 points per game, to just four points.
Sixteenth-seeded Oak Ridge scored the first basket of the game against the top seed, and it all went downhill from there.
Charleston (8-2) rattled off a 14-0 run in the first quarter, then added another 13-0 run spanning into the second quarter.
Charleston's Justin Clark scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first frame, including three consecutive 3-pointers, to give his team a 20-point edge after one quarter. Charleston used its full-court press to increase its lead to 42-15 at halftime.
Oak Ridge (0-8) scored 17 points in the third period. Austin Hahs, who entered the tournament averaging more than 20 points per game, was held to just 13 points. Hahs played with a taped wrist, which Martin said he injured prior to the tournament.
After a mediocre first half, second-seeded Jackson unleashed its bench and outscored No. 15 Chaffee 45-12 in the second half.
The Indians (10-1) got off to a 9-0 start, but Chaffee snuck back into the picture in the second quarter. The Red Devils scored 14 points and pulled within 11 at halftime.
Jackson's bench was responsible for the last 34 points for the Indians. Ryan Leet finished with a game-high 15 points.
Spencer Goodman and Drue McNeely each added 11 for the Indians. Chaffee (3-3), which did not score 20 points in either of its two games in last year's tournament, was led by Steven Dooley with nine points.
Third-seeded Bell City had three players with at least 15 points and eased by No. 14 Oran. Kerry Lasters led the Cubs (7-1) with 17 points, followed by Will Bogan and Blaine Stewart with 16 apiece.
Lasters and Stewart were both 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Chase Seyer and Steven Mock had nine points apiece to lead the Eagles (2-4).
This was the first opening round win at the tournament for the Panthers under coach Tom Brown, who is in his fifth year at Meadow Heights (6-2). The No. 10 Panthers will face No. 2 Jackson at 6 p.m. today in the quarterfinal round.
Michael Collier, a senior, led the Panthers with five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Fellow seniors Heath Fulton, Nathan Revelle and Anthony Bollinger had two 3-pointers apiece.
Collier finished the half with another 3-pointer, sending the Panthers to a 41
-34 halftime lead.
The margin was at five points when Meadow Heights reserve Dusty Davis took over. Davis hit three 3-pointers in four Meadow Heights possessions to push the lead to 75-59 and secure the win.
Ethan Watkins led the Rams with 17 points, Andy Stephens had 16 points, Alex King had 13 and Ryan Modglin had 10.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs (7-1) set up a quarterfinal match with rival Central by blowing out No. 12 Delta in an opening round game.
Thanks to a stifling press, Notre Dame led 31-6 by the end of the opening quarter and poured it on from there.
Notre Dame will play the fourth-seeded Tigers at 9 tonight.
Alex Ressel led Notre Dame with 19 points, Xavier Delph had 13 and Frankie Ellis had 10.
Nathan Stroder and Aaron Kinder led Delta with six points apiece.
Advance had 10 scorers and secured yet another blowout win for the higher seeds in the opening round.
The Hornets (5-3) outscored Leopold 36-9 in the second half to move into the quarterfinal round. The No. 6 Hornets will play No. 3 Bell City tonight.
Alex Steil led Advance with 19 points, Daryl Wade had 13 and Jeremy Limbaugh finished with 10.
Matt Stoverink contributed 16 of Leopold's 30 points.