Braves win rebounding battle on way to win over state-ranked Charleston
CHARLESTON -- "Rebounding." That's what 6'1 senior Caleb Johnson said gave his Scott County Central Braves (12-2) the edge in their game against the Charleston Bluejays Friday night.
The Bluejays (10-6) went into the rivalry game with a slight height advantage over the Braves, but, Scott Central out-rebounded and out-scored the Bluejays on their way towards the victory, 75-70.
"We had to hit the boards," Braves coach Ronnie Cookson said. "That was one of the key things we had to do. We couldn't let them get the ball and start running with it. If we didn't rebound, we were going to be in trouble."
Scott Central did that and more, recording 34 total rebounds. Johnson was responsible for 13 of those 34 for the Braves, and also led all scorers with 26 points.
Charleston recorded 23 total rebounds.
The Braves jumped out to take a 20-8 lead after one quarter of play. Scott Central kept the lead at around ten points for most of the second, but bumped it up to 13 points going into halftime with a 37-24 lead.
In the third quarter, the Bluejays cut the lead down to as little as four after a two hand slam by Brian Parham and a five-footer by Jerquawn Sherrell made it a 43-39 ball game. But, Scott Central ended the third quarter with a run of their own, out-scoring the Bluejays 15-4 to make it a 57-43 game with one more quarter left to play.
The Braves kept adding on to their lead during the fourth quarter, going up by as much as 18 points at on time. Charleston would battle back though, mostly from 3-point shooting by Antonio Riggens and Donal Dixon who hit four 3-pointers down the stretch, to make it a 75-70 final.
"They played pretty hard," Cookson said. "We kind of had a letdown when we got up by 18, I kind of felt like they should have held their own, but Charleston got to hitting some three's."
Scott Central was led by Johnson's 26 points, followed by Drew Thomas who had 19 points and eight rebounds. D.D. Gillespie added 16 points and hit two 3-pointers.
Parham led the Jay's with 20 points. Dixon added 18 points and hit two 3-
pointers. Sherrell had 11 and Fred Pratt scored 10.
This loss to Scott Central put Charleston in a very unfamiliar place; a losing streak. Charleston has not lost three straight games since the start of the 2000-01 season, when they lost their first four games of the season.
"We're trying to find our identity," Bluejays coach Danny Farmer said. "I don't feel bad when we lose against a good team. A team that, in my opinion, that should beat us anyway. I have to look at the positives just like a negative."
Coach Farmer went on to say, that they are fortunate to be in the position that they are.
"We didn't go into the season and expect to be 10-6 right now. We're fortunate to be 10-6. We beat a good Jackson team we had no business beating, we beat a great Meridian team we had no business beating. We're going to keep on, and keep on, and try to be ready by the end of the season."
Charleston will try and end their losing streak on the road Tuesday night, when they will travel to Cape Girardeau to take on the Notre Dame Bulldogs.
Scott County Central will be starting the Scott-Mississippi tournament, the number-one seed received a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of the Oran and East Prairie game Thursday night.
The Scott Central junior varsity cruised to a win Friday night, defeating the Bluejays 85-56.
At the half, Scott Central was sitting with a 45-22 lead. But, Charleston made the adjustment to a man-to-man defense which payed off well. The Bluejays outscored the Braves 26-8 in the third quarter to cut the lead to five, 53-48.
The Braves bounced back in a big way during the fourth quarter, outscoring Charleston 32-8 to pull out the win.
Chris Blissett led the Braves and all scorers with 20 points. Otto Porter and Reggie Woodson both scored 17 points apiece, while Stewart Johnson added 12.
Demarques McKeller led the Bluejays with 15 points. Machenzie Ivy scored 13, while Claude Armstrong added 10.