Scott Central uses big second half to claim championship
DELTA -- There was one thing that the Scott County Central Braves had to do Friday night, that normally, this season, they have not had to do very often: play catch-up.
The Scott City Rams led the entire first three quarters of play. But, the Braves battled back in the fourth quarter to win their second straight Scott-
Mississippi Conference Tournament Championship, 68-59.
Scott City came into the game looking for redemption from the 82-48 rout they took from the Braves in the fifth-place game at the seMissourian Christmas tournament.
The Rams started the redeeming process with an early 9-0 lead to start the game. They held the Braves scoreless until Drew Thomas put Scott Central on the scoreboard at the 3:33 mark in the first quarter.
By the end of the first, the Rams were in control, 15-7.
Scott City built their lead up to 15 points at the end of the first half, 32-17.
The Braves cut the Scott City lead to as much as four points during the third quarter. But, the Rams were still holding on at the end of the third, 45-39.
Scott Central's press was starting to work for them and that allowed the Braves to fight back and take the lead at the 5:48 mark in the fourth quarter, when D.D. Gillespie laid it in for two points to make it a 48-47 Braves lead.
But, Scott City took the lead right back with five straight points including a 3-pointer by Jay Simmons to make it a 52-48 game.
Scott City went on a 12-4 run to take their lead back up to seven points, 59-
52, but that was all the scoring the Rams would do after that. The Braves held them scoreless for the rest of the game.
They tied the game at 59 with two minutes left to play, then a free throw by Hatchett put the Braves in the lead for good to take home the conference title.
"Scott City was ready for us," Braves head coach Ronnie Cookson said. "They played a real good defense against us, I won't say what it was, but they played it good. Everything worked out good for us though."
This was coach Cookson's second straight conference title after coming back to coach the Braves in the 2006-2007 season.
"I'm glad for the kids," Cookson said. "They won it last year and won it again this year, so, it's good."
Senior Caleb Johnson was one of the kids that won it last year and said that the rest of the seniors on the team wanted to come out on top.
"It feels good," senior Caleb Johnson said. "We have three seniors on the team that wanted to come out and win it. Some of the younger guys come out and helped us so, it feels good."
Drew Thomas led the Braves with 20 points and also had eight rebounds. Johnson had 15 points and seven rebounds. Hatchett scored 12 points and hit the only 3-pointer for the Braves. He also recorded eight steals.
Jay Simmons led all scorers with 22 and also made five 3-pointers. Alex King added 20 points.
Scott Central's next game will be against Chaffee on Friday night.
In the third place game, East Prairie was able to hang on and win their second straight third place title against the Kelly Hawks, 73-63.
Kelly tied the game late in the fourth quarter 58-58. But, the Eagles went on a 15-5 run to finish out the game.
"It was just a total team effort for us tonight," Eagles head coach Matt Schonoff said. "We were able to defend our third place which is very good for our kids."
Tony Jones had a game high 30 points for the Eagles. M.C. Williams scored 11 with three 3-pointers, while Dustin Caldwell and Scot Davis added 10 points apiece.
Kelly was led by Josh DeBrock who scored 19 points with four 3-pointers. Josh Rodgers added 16, while Levi Felter scored 11 and made two 3-pointers.
Kelly will be traveling to Notre Dame on Tuesday to take on the Bulldogs, and East Prairie will be at Hayti on Friday.