The Braves started the contest on fire, hitting five 3's in the first quarter to sprint out to a 29-21 lead after one quarter. Sophomore Drew Thomas continued his stellar play in the tournament and scored 10 points in the first against the Rams, as did junior guard D.D. Gillespie, who hit on two 3-
pointers in the first.
Scott Central extended the lead in the second quarter with more lights-out shooting. For the half, the Braves shot 72 percent from the floor. Thomas scored another 10 points in the second for 20 points in the first half and freshman point guard Bobby Hatchett went off for 12 points, as Scott Central led 52-33 at halftime.
"The boys were ready to play tonight," said Scott Central head coach Ronnie Cookson. "We came out and played hard and I am glad we did because Scott City is a very well-coached team and can cause some problems."
The Rams had no answers for the Braves' offensive assault and their zone defense was not getting the job done.
"We wanted to come out and play straight man defense," said Scott City head coach Lance Amick, "but we got into some early foul trouble and had to go to a zone. In the zone, we just couldn't find their shooters. What we thought were average shooters, turned into great ones tonight."
Scott Central kept up the offensive pressure in the third quarter, as the Braves poured in 27 more points in the quarter and held Scott City to only nine points.
The Braves full-court pressed the Rams the entire game and it seemed to pay some dividends in the third quarter. Scott City committed nine turnovers in the quarter and trailed 79-42 heading into the fourth.
"It seemed early on," said Amick, "that things were not going to go our way. We got into early foul trouble which took us out of things we normally like to do. Give credit to Scott Central, they took advantage and really took it to us."
The mercy rule kept the clock running the entire fourth quarter and the Braves, somewhat shockingly, cruised to the championship with ease.
"This is the best we have shot all year," said Cookson. "We were fortunate to win no matter the final score. Scott City just couldn't get their shots to fall. They are a great team and I know they will bounce back."
Amick could only shake his head after the game to the performance put forth by Scott Central.
"The way they played tonight," said Amick, "I don't think the (Los Angeles) Lakers could have beaten them. Scott Central was just terrific. They have a great coach who had them very well prepared. We can go two ways with this loss, we can forget it or get damaged by this. Our losses this year are to quality teams and hopefully the boys can bounce back and move forward."
Thomas hit five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 30 points for Scott Central. For the tournament, Thomas averaged 31.5 points per game.
Gillespie had 20 points and Hatchett ended his play with 17 points, five assists and three steals. After scoring only two points in the first half, junior forward Caleb Johnson stepped it up in the second half and finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and had three steals for the Braves.
Scott Central was the more aggressive team on defense and finished with 14 steals as a team compared to two for the Rams. Toby Heeb came off the bench and led the Braves with five steals.
Caleb Estes led Scott City with 17 points. Alex King, a 6-foot-5 junior, had 14 points and led the Rams with eight rebounds. Jay Simmons rounded out the double-digit scorers for Scott City with 11 points and he had seven rebounds. The Rams struggled with the pressure of Scott Central and ended the contest with 19 turnovers.
Scott City (10-6) travels to New Madrid County Central on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Scott Central (12-4) hosts the East Prairie Eagles on Tuesday.
The East Prairie Eagles captured third place in the conference tournament with a thrilling victory over the Oran Eagles.
The Eagles enjoyed a 52-49 advantage heading into the fourth quarter when the game started to heat up. Both teams went back and forth in the final quarter and the game was tied at 65 with 1:30 to play.
Senior guard Randy Woods scored the next five points for East Prairie and they led 70-65 with 31 seconds to go. Woods missed a chance to increase the lead as he missed two free-throws and Oran came down on their next offensive possession and scored to cut the lead to three with 25 seconds left on the clock.
Oran fouled M.C. Williams of East Prairie and Williams connected on 1-of-2 free throws to up the lead to 71-67 with 20 seconds on the clock. Oran came back down and Chris Asmus drained a long 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 13 seconds left.
On East Prairie's next possession, after a timeout, they were called for a traveling violation and turned the ball over to Oran leading 71-70.
East Prairie made up for the turnover with solid defense and induced a jump ball situation. The possession arrow pointed East Prairie's way with six seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Williams was fouled and sent back to the line with 5.5 seconds to play. Williams sank both free throws to up the lead to 73-70. Oran had one last chance at the buzzer but the 3-point shot was off and East Prairie celebrated the win.
"It is nice after getting the fourth seed coming into the tournament and leave it with the third-place trophy," said East Prairie head coach Matt Schonhoff. "The kids responded after a tough game last night against Scott Central and played hard tonight."
East Prairie struggled early with 6-2 forward Tony Jones getting saddled with two quick fouls. Jones did not play the entire second quarter and Oran took advantage, especially down low in the paint.
Oran went on an 8-0 run in the second quarter and led 26-22 with 5:30 to play in the quarter. Forward Robert Lange had 11 points in the quarter for Oran.
After Steven Mock hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Oran led 36-30 heading into halftime.
"We seemed to lose focus in the second quarter," said Schonhoff. "Tony (Jones) was in foul trouble and the kids didn't respond well. But, the kids rebounded and kept it close by halftime."
With Jones back in the lineup for East Prairie to start the second half, the Eagles went on an 18-4 run to begin the third quarter, spurred by Jones and Williams. Jones had eight points in the quarter and Williams hit two 3's to ignite the run.
"We stepped up the defensive pressure in the third quarter and deflected a lot of their passes, which turned into easy transition baskets for us," said Schonhoff. "Give Oran credit, they came back and made it a heck of a ballgame. The fans got their money's worth in this game."
Oran responded late in the third quarter, as their bench provided a spark. Mock came in and scored seven straight on a 9-0 run and Oran led 49-48 with 1:30 to play in the quarter. East Prairie did score the last four points of the quarter to set up the final frame.
Paris Tipler led East Prairie with 21 points, seven steals and contributed six rebounds from his guard position. Williams finished with 19 points and Jones had 18 points and a game-high 18 rebounds (seven offensive). Woods ended with 11 points for East Prairie.
East Prairie took control of the game from the charity stripe. While Oran only had 12 attempts from the line, making seven, East Prairie made 20 throws on 29 attempts. In addition, East Prairie had 14 steals compared to eight for Oran.
Lange paced Oran with 22 points and 14 rebounds (eight offensive). Mock led the Oran bench with 16 of a total of 20 bench points. East Prairie only had four points from their bench.
Kody Campbell had nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for Oran. Asmus ended his night with nine points and six rebounds.
Oran (9-7) hosts Oak Ridge on Tuesday at 6 p.m., while East Prairie (11-5) travels to Scott Central.