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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Braves, Scott City advance in Tourney

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

(Photo)
Scott Central's D.D. Gillespie goes up for a layup.
CHAFFEE -- The opening round of the Scott-Mississippi Conference Tournament wrapped up on Tuesday with Scott County Central and Scott City advancing to the semifinals.

The higher seeds held as the No. 2 Scott City Rams, behind Ethan Watkins' 23 points with five 3s, romped over the No. 7 Chaffee Red Devils 72-21 and the third-seeded Scott County Central Braves blew past the No. 6-seed Delta Bobcats 89-64 in the nightcap.

Scott Central (6-9) halted a five-game skid with dominating play in the middle quarters. The Braves outscored Delta 50-24 in the second and third periods.

"Even though we've been losing, we've been playing better every night," said Scott Central coach David Heeb, of his Braves who start two sophomores and one freshman. "It still feels good to get a win."

Scott Central used a suffocating pressure defense, with basically a six-man rotation, along with a huge rebounding edge to topple the Bobcats.

The Braves forced numerous turnovers, particularly in the second and third quarters, to gain the advantage.

"(Defense) is a testament to our conditioning," said Heeb, "and that's two games in a row that we came to the boards like that."

Leading Scott Central's effort on the boards was athletic 6-foot-1 sophomore Caleb Johnson, who also finished as the team's scoring runnerup with 23 points, including two slam dunks.

Delta (4-8) jumped out to an early 13-5 lead and was up 20-19 as the first quarter expired.

But Scott Central, with sophomore point guard D.D. Gillespie scoring nine of his game-high 24 points, began to take charge midway through the second quarter. A late 16-4 run to close out the period sent the Braves into halftime with a 44-32 advantage.

After Delta had narrowed the gap to eight with two consecutive baskets to open the third quarter, the Braves went on a 23-4 rampage to literally put the game out of reach. Scott Central led 69-44 going into the final quarter.

Delta held its own in a 20-20 fourth quarter, but it was, obviously, too little, too late.

Heeb praised freshman forward Drew Thomas as a catalyst on the defensive end.

"He guarded their best player (senior Terrence Below) most of the night and he does a lot of little things for us," Heeb said. "He comes in and works and one of these days it'll all pay off and he'll be a really good all-round player."

Below paced the Bobcats with 22 points and senior Aaron Kinder added 20 with Delta's only two treys.

Scott Central senior guard Josh Chamberlain chipped in with a season-high 18 points, hitting three from beyond the arc.

Five Braves scored in double digits. In addition to Gillespie, Johnson and Chamberlain, Thomas added 12 and senior Pershard Owens 11.

Scott Central will challenge Scott City in one of Thursday's semifinals at 7:30 p.m. while top-seed Kelly, which drew a first-round bye, will face No. 4 Oran in the other at 9.

The Scott Central and Scott City matchup, the third this season, promises to be interesting. The Rams have claimed victories in both prior meetings -- the first by 21 points, the second by six -- over the rapidly-improving Braves.

Said Heeb, "I've got to give these kids credit because it would be easy for them to get their heads down and listen to the naysayers, but they just keep working."