The No. 1 seeded Charleston Bluejays (24-3) dumped East Prairie, 79-58 and second seed Scott City Rams (19-7) outlasted third seed Portageville Bulldogs, 79-70 in semifinal action.
East Prairie started out of the gates on fire against the Bluejays and led 7-2 with 5:20 to play in the quarter. Senior Justin Clark responded with two quick 3's to jumpstart the 'Jays on a 10-0 run and led 12-7 with four minutes to play in the first quarter.
Clark and Jerrell Quinn paced Charleston in the first with six points apiece and the Bluejays led 17-11 entering the second quarter.
"Shawn was very patient against their zone and found openings for some short jumpers," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "East Prairie tried to take away Jamarcus with double teams, so Shawn penetrated for some open looks. Quinn hit some key shots early in the first half to kind of get us going."
After opening the contest on fire, East Prairie cooled the remainder of the first half. The Eagles shot 33 percent in the half, as the Bluejays amped up their man-to-man defense.
Despite the offensive woes, junior forward Tony Jones held his own against the athletic frontline of Charleston and had 11 rebounds in the half. Charleston led 39-28 heading into halftime.
The Eagles outscored Charleston 19-17 in the third quarter and were led by Jones' six points. The 'Jays led 56-47 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles cut the Bluejay lead to 56-51 early in the fourth quarter, when Charleston took over with a quick 10-3 run and led 66-53 with 4:35 to play in the quarter.
"We made a run at them in the fourth," said East Prairie head coach Matt Schonhoff, "but they kicked up their defensive pressure and we couldn't respond. Charleston got some easy shots against us in the fourth and pulled away with some tough jumpers late."
Leading 68-56 with 2:20 to play in the game, the Bluejays put the win in the bag with a 11-2 run over the next two minutes of the contest. Charleston outscored East Prairie 23-11 in the final quarter.
"Charleston did a good job of spacing us out on defense," said Schonhoff. "They had a guy at the high post and constantly tried to feed the ball in the post. I was also impressed with the way they reversed the ball around the perimeter and found open shooters. Clark hit a couple of open 3's and (Shawn) Sherrell got some good looks at the basket."
The half-court defense of the Bluejays caused the Eagles to fire up a lot of missed shots in the fourth. Only one player for East Prairie (18-9) scored in the quarter, senior Paris Tipler, who scored on acrobatic drives to the basket and was 5-for-10 from the line.
A key for Charleston in the contest was the production from their bench. Led by Brian Parham and Jerquawn Sherrell, the 'Jays outscored East Prairie's bench 17-5 in the contest.
"Our goal coming into the game was to wear them down physically with our bench," said Farmer. "We ran a lot of people at them and I think it kind of wore them down late. You have to applaud East Prairie because they played a great game and played hard down to the wire."
Williams and Clark led Charleston with 17 points apiece. Williams controlled the boards and ended with a game-high 17 rebounds (seven offensive). Shawn Sherrell was steady for the Bluejays with 16 points and four assists.
Quinn ended his night with 12 points and five rebounds. Jerquawn Sherrell and Parham had eight and six points respectively off the bench for Charleston. The Bluejays outrebounded East Prairie 42-30 and forced 16 turnovers in the game.
"I thought we played solid defense," said Farmer, "but our offense could have been better. Clark had a better game than I thought and Jamarcus was big for us late."
Tipler led the Eagles with 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds from his guard position. Jones had 14 points and 14 rebounds (eight offensive), while senior Randy Woods ended his career with 12 points and three steals.
"I give a lot of credit to my kids," said Schonhoff, "they competed hard tonight. We gave our best effort. I think we definitely gave Charleston a run for the money."
Charleston 79, East Prairie 58
EAST PRAIRIE (58) - Paris Tipler 22, Tony Jones 14, Randy Woods 12, Tyler Branam 3, Taylor White 3, M.C. Williams 2, Ryan Jones 2. FG 18. FT 10-19. F 15. (3-pointers: Woods 1, Tipler 1, Branam 1, White 1. Fouled out: none).
CHARLESTON (79) - Jamarcus Williams 17, Justin Clark 17, Shawn Sherrell 16, Jerrell Quinn 12, Jerquawn Sherrell 8, Brian Parham 6, Antonio Riggens 3. FG 26. FT 12-21. F 19. (3-pointers: Clark 3, Riggens 1, J. Sherrell 1. Fouled out: none).
A big second quarter by the Scott City Rams doomed the hopes of a district final for the Portageville Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs outscored the Rams 19-16 in the first quarter, but Scott City responded in the second quarter by outscoring Portageville 26-11.
"To be honest," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell, "I don't know what happened to us in the second quarter. They just did a better job of executing on the offensive end. Scott City came out with a good gameplan and we were just out-coached. We didn't execute early. We missed a lot of shots and didn't rebound."
The Rams started the second quarter on a 9-1 run and led 32-22 with 3:30 to play in the first half. After being shutout in the first quarter, sharp-
shooting Jay Simmons lifted Scott City in the second with two quick 3-
In addition, 6-foot-5 forward Alex King, controlled the post in the half and finished with 12 points. Scott City led 42-30 heading into halftime.
"Portageville did a nice job of guarding us in the first quarter," said Scott City head coach Lance Amick. "In the second quarter, we started to hit some shots and got some bench production from John Pinkston. We wanted to push the ball early against Portageville and get out in transition. I think we accomplished that goal and it always helps when you knock down some shots."
The Bulldogs made a little run to begin the third quarter. Trailing 50-39 with 3:10 to play in the quarter, Jamie Pinkston of the Rams was called for an offensive foul which he disagreed with. The officials believed he protested too much and was whistled for a technical foul.
Before Portageville's Trey Mosby could attempt the two free throws, Amick was called for a technical foul and Mosby was rewarded two more free-
throws. Mosby went 2-for-4 from the line and Scott City led 50-41.
The Rams only made three field goals in the third quarter, but they were solid from the charity stripe. Scott City went 10-for-12 from the line and maintained a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter, 58-46.
"We did a good job of hitting our free throws in the third," said Amick. "With those technical fouls, it could have been catastrophic if we didn't. I believe I was standing up for my player and fortunately it didn't hurt us too much."
Portageville (17-8) trailed 60-48 with seven minutes to play in the contest, when Mosby started to take the ball hard to the basket. With four quick points from Mosby, the Bulldogs were back in the game trailing 60-52 with 5:20 to play.
As he did in the second quarter, Simmons regained the momentum for the Rams with a long 3-pointer on Scott City's next offensive possession to increase the lead to 11 points with five minutes remaining.
"Jay hit some huge 3's for us," said Amick. "We hit some big shots tonight, but I think our defense played a role as well. We went to a zone in the second half to try and slow them down. Mosby is a great player and we just tried to make him earn it."
The Bulldogs didn't quit and battled to within six points, 65-59, with three minutes left in the fourth. Over the next two minutes of action, Scott City put the game away with a 13-1 run and built their biggest lead of the game to 78-60 with 1:40 on the clock. Portageville could not recover and the Rams advanced to the finals with a big win.
"Scott City worked hard for the win," said Bidewell. "They were more aggressive than we were. We played in spurts and didn't have any consistency. The key to tonight was more coaching than anything else. I was just out-coached, plain and simple."
King led the Rams with 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Jamie Pinkston finished with 18 points and three assists. Simmons ended his night with 16 points and hit four 3's, while Rynn Eskew contributed 14 points and five boards for Scott City.
Mosby led all scorers with 23 points and had five assists for Portageville. Freshman Kony Ealy had 10 points and 16 rebounds. Marcus Greene and Leonard Boyd, playing in their final game of their careers for the Bulldogs had seven and two points respectively.
Portageville outrebounded Scott City 37-25, but committed 21 turnovers in the contest.
Scott City 79, Portageville 70
PORTAGEVILLE (70) - Trey Mosby 23, Kony Ealy 10, D.J. Birdwell 9, Terrale Jones 8, Marcus Greene 7, Byron Wright 5, Mikey Johnson 4, Leonard Boyd 2, Jacob Estes 2. FG 23. FT 9-21. F 22. (3-pointers: Mosby 2, Jones 1, Birdwell 1, Wright 1, Fouled out: none).
SCOTT CITY (79) - Alex King 19, Jamie Pinkston 18, Jay Simmons 16, Rynn Eskew 14, Caleb Estes 7, John Pinkston 5. FG 21. FT 22-35. F 17. (3-pointers: Simmons 4, Estes 1. Fouled out: none).