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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Scott Central tightens grip on conference lead

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MORLEY -- It looked to be a fairly even matchup going in, but the state's seventh-ranked Class 1 team, the Scott Central Braves, had other ideas.

An anticipated rematch between Scott Central and Scott-Mississippi Conference rival East Prairie, a Class 3 school, turned into a Braves' beatdown.

The Braves blitzed the visiting Eagles 92-53 on Tuesday.

Scott Central (13-4) tightened its grip on the Scott-Mississippi Conference lead, improving to 4-0, while East Prairie (11-6) fell to 2-2.

In their second meeting in less than a week -- Scott Central defeated East Prairie 92-78 on Thursday, with the outcome decided late -- the Braves put the Eagles away early in this one.

"We stayed with the game plan this time," said Scott Central coach Ronnie Cookson. "(The) last time our game plan went out the window. We played a straight zone this time instead of trying to match up with them, because they kept beating us when we matched up."

East Prairie coach Matt Schonhoff pointed to a similarity in his team's performance in the two games.

"The thing that killed us last Thursday was we could not finish inside," he said. "If we had finished inside, it could have been a different ballgame. Tonight, it was the same thing."

Much of the inside game centers around the teams' talented post men, Scott Central's 6-foot-1 Caleb Johnson and East Prairie's 6-2 Tony Jones. Both rank as two of the area's top rebounders.

Johnson clearly won this battle with an herculean effort on the boards, snatching 25 rebounds to go with his 15 points.

Jones, forced to the bench with foul trouble for parts of the second and third quarters, finished with 11 rebounds and six points.

Scott Central, on Toby Heeb's last-second 3-pointer, led 17-14 after the first quarter.

Heeb came off the bench to score 16 points, 12 in the first half. With Heeb as the offensive catalyst, scoring 10 second-quarter points, the Braves extended their lead to 43-30 at the half.

"We took Drew Thomas away in the first half--he didn't hurt us," said Schonhoff, "but Heeb did an excellent job of hitting 3's and Johnson did an excellent job of rebounding. We could not box him out."

Thomas, one of the Braves' leading scorers, was quiet in the first half with four points, but picked it up in the second half to finish with a game-high 21 points.

Scott Central, scoring at will, put the game out of reach with a 31-7 advantage in the third period.

The Braves ran off 23 straight points before the Eagles finally scored with 3:04 left in the third.

Thomas led the charge with 10 third-quarter points.

A frustrated coach Schonhoff pulled his starters midway of the quarter.

"We came out so flat in the third quarter and that's why I took out the starters," he said. "It was a wake-up call for those guys."

The Braves built a commanding 74-37 lead after three quarters, triggering a running clock in the final quarter.

A bright spot for the Eagles was the play of its second unit, specifically Ryan Jones, Trentin Martin and Jacob Garrett, who contributed 14 points off the bench.

"Our second team came in and did an excellent job," said Schonhoff. "They battled, they ran up and down the court, they got the ball inside and actually finished inside, so I'm very happy with our second team, but our first team has to come ready to go."

Paris Tipler topped the Eagles with 13 points and Randy Woods added 11.

Behind Thomas' 21 points, D.D. Gillespie scored 20 followed by Heeb's 16, Johnson's 15 and 12 from freshman Bobby Hatchett.

"He's starting to pick it up," said Cookson of Hatchett. "He pulled off a couple of drives tonight and he's got freedom to do that.

"It was a good win. I thought the kids played real well. The spark plug missed a couple of times, but they bounced back and got back in the groove."

Scott Central completed the sweep with a 78-37 rout of East Prairie in the junior varsity contest.

Tyler Gilliland, Desmin Williams and John Rhoden led the Braves with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Scot Davis topped the Eagles with 16.

Scott Central visits Chaffee while East Prairie hosts Hayti on Friday.