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Thursday, July 24, 2014

'Jays defense stifles Hawks

Sunday, March 5, 2006

(Photo)
Charleston's Tavis Hamilton guards Kelly's Brandon Ayers.
CHARLESTON -- Heading into Friday night's Class 3, District 2 championship game with Charleston, Kelly coach Cory Johnson knew his team would have to play over their heads combined with a meltdown by the talented Bluejays to have a chance.

The exact opposite happened.

Charleston put together its most complete performance since early February as they routed the Hawks 70-50 at Three Rivers Community College to win its fifth straight district championship and 25th in the school's history.

"We're thrilled -- it's a motivating factor," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer of winning another district title. "We talk about it and get the kids up to keep trying to win it. It's a thrill for us."

Charleston (21-7), which beat Kelly for the second straight year in the title game, will face Doniphan in Wednesday night's sectional at Poplar Bluff High School at 8:15.

(Photo)
Charleston's Jamarcus Williams tries to get around Kelly's Jordan Felter.
"That's the team we were worried might show up tonight," said Johnson. "Anytime that Charleston team shows up it's going to be a long night for whoever they play. They're so talented and so athletic. They're good kids. They play hard, they play the right way. They were just better athletes out there tonight."

The Bluejays were clicking in all facets as they forced Kelly into missing its first 10 shots of the night en route to an 8-0 lead.

Charleston made its first four shots of the game.

And while Kelly kept it from getting totally out of hand until the mid-point of the third quarter, the message had already been sent -- Charleston was ready to play.

"We wanted to jump out on them and put some pressure on them," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "We felt our pressure could hurt them a whole lot and that was the determining factor in the game. I thought we played well defensively and offensively. We've played well three games in a row offensively, but we played much better defense tonight. The intensity was good tonight."

The Hawks (18-10) had trouble just getting good looks at the basket as they were forced into 19 turnovers on the night.

"We didn't execute offensively, but their defense was a lot of the reason for that," said Johnson. "When we did get some looks we rushed our shots because we were surprised we were open. When you compete against a team that's talented like they are then it's going to be tough."

Charleston opened up a 16-6 first quarter lead.

The Hawks managed to cut the lead to 18-11 early in the second quarter, but Charleston responded with a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 27-13.

Kelly never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.

Charleston led 36-21 heading into halftime.

The Bluejays canned three 3-pointers in the first half.

"We wanted to make them beat us from the outside, but they ended up beating us anywhere they wanted tonight," said Johnson. "They shot the ball extremely well and they proved to us that they could shoot it. We didn't know and didn't think they could shoot it that well."

Kelly only trailed 40-25 midway through the third quarter, but the Bluejays put the game away from that point. Charleston led 52-30 heading into the fourth quarter.

They led by as much as 61-33 in the fourth before Farmer emptied his bench.

It was a much different Charleston team than the one that struggled past Kelly by 10 points in the seMissourian Christmas Tournament.

Standout point guard Shawn Sherrell is back to full health as is senior forward Josh Thompson.

The Bluejays also got some key minutes from 6-3 sophomore Brian Parham.

"We have more people playing with us now than earlier when we played Kelly," said Farmer. "Sherrell and Josh are back and we've gotten some good minutes out of Parham and the freshman Antonio Riggens. Overall we had more people contribute versus one or two people shooting it well. I tip my hat to Kelly. They had a super season and were overachievers this year."

Jamarcus Williams led the Bluejays with 17 points. Tavis Hamilton had 14 points followed by Sherrell's 12 points and Justin Clark's 11.

Charleston out-rebounded Kelly 25-19 on the night.

Kelly's only source of offense came from senior Brandon Ayers, who tallied a game-high 22 points with four 3-pointers. No other Hawk cracked double figures. Senior Jordan Felter had a rough shooting night and finished with just eight points.

"I'm going to miss my seniors," said Johnson. "I just wish we could've continued the season even longer. Our seniors came back and fought hard and were great leaders and they weren't going to fail. This is the first group I had for four years and we were 66-27 throughout their four years with freshmen ball, J.V. and varsity. They're winners. They came to the gym every day to get better."