The Bluejays never trailed in the game, held off every Malden run, and eventually won the game going away in the fourth quarter, 80-59, in front of an overflow crowd at Poplar Bluff's Peters Gymnasium.
The Bluejays (26-3) move to the Class 3 quarterfinal round where they will play Bayless (20-8) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Center.
Malden came into Wednesday's game with an impressive resume, building a 27-1 record with a No. 5 ranking in the state.
But the Bluejays, ranked No. 2 in the state, were on another level Wednesday night.
"We're a veteran club and this is our sixth time (in a sectional game)," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "I think that means a lot. We're comfortable playing in this type of environment. We have some vets on our team and I expect them to play like this. We played well on defense and offense."
None played better than Bluejay senior Justin Clark, who tallied a game-high 28 points with five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. He drained four 3-
pointers in the game.
"He was unreal, but that's Justin," said Farmer. "Once he gets in that zone -- when he's on, he's on. Justin came to play. He didn't want to lose here."
Clark was not alone.
Point guard Shawn Sherrell scored 13 points with six assists. Jamarcus Williams had 11 points with 15 rebounds and four steals. Jerrell Quinn followed up with 10 points and nine rebounds.
"Quinn's been the difference," said Farmer. "I think he's a difference-maker since we've been in the postseason. He's stepped his game up and he hit the offensive boards hard."
Malden barely won the rebounding battle, 38-37, including 22 offensive boards for the Green Wave. It was an area that Farmer emphasized before the game.
"They hit those offensive boards so hard -- I've seen them play four times," said Farmer of Malden. "I knew to win the game we had to beat them on the boards. Jamarcus raised his game tonight."
This was Malden's first sectional appearance since 1991. The inexperience might have played a factor in the game. The Green Wave had numerous unforced turnovers and couldn't find much offense outside the paint.
"(Charleston) did a good job on the man-to-man pressure," said Malden coach Robert Ison. "We didn't move much on offense. Against pressure like that you've got to move and you've got to set screens. We didn't give ourselves a chance on offense."
Malden's lone offensive threat was Ison's 6-foot-6 son, Robbie Ison, who led the team with 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Most of the points came on offensive putbacks. He had nine offensive rebounds.
"Robbie played well around the basket and he's capable of doing that," said coach Ison. "Unfortunately we needed more than just him. We needed somebody else to go with him."
Malden star guard Alonzo Louis was contained as Farmer rotated Sherrell, Antonio Riggens and Garyion Johnson on defense.
Louis managed to score 16 points, but eight of those came in the fourth quarter when the game was well decided. He also had five assists.
"Alonzo had to guard Sherrell and then he's got to run the point," said Ison. "He's going to expand a lot of energy doing that. I thought he did a good job, but when you have to do both of those things then you're going to get fatigued."
Both teams are known for causing havoc with the full-court press, but neither team did much pressing out of respect for both teams' guards.
Malden still had 16 turnovers while Charleston only had nine in the game.
"Going into the game we didn't know if we could pressure them or not," said Farmer. "I felt they were just as quick as we were. I thought we did a super job on Louis, he normally plays a lot better than that."
Charleston scored right off the opening tip which set the tone for things to come. The Bluejays led 6-0 before the Green Wave could scratch. With just under two minutes left in the first quarter, Charleston already had a double-
digit lead at 15-4.
Charleston eventually settled for a 17-8 lead after one.
The Green Wave trailed by as much as 12 after a Clark 3-pointer with four minutes left in the half. Malden managed to creep back into the game and closed the gap to six on two difference possessions, but Charleston dealt a severe blow to end the half.
Sherrell drained a jumper with two seconds left to lead 36-28. As the ball swished through the hoop, Malden was whistled for a foul underneath the goal, awarding Williams with a one-and-one free throw. Williams missed the free throw, but Clark tipped in the offensive rebound to push the lead to 38-28 at halftime.
The Bluejays led by as much as 14 three times in the third quarter, but Malden once again surged back, cutting the lead to 52-45 by the end of the period.
With the Malden faithful back into the game and the players signaling them to get on their feet, Charleston silenced the crowd and essentially iced the game with a 7-0 run to start the quarter. Within a minute, the Bluejays led 59-45 and they steadily pulled away to the end.
"Every run they'd make, we had to answer that run," said Farmer. "We had to be on to win and we were on."
Malden's season ends at 27-2, which is the school's best record ever in terms of winning percentage, surpassing the 1985 state championship squad's 30-3 mark.
"I don't care if you play School of the Blind, to be 27-2 you've got to have a good team," said Ison, who was a member of that '85 squad. "We just ran into another good team. Charleston will probably go all the way this year."