JACKSON -- The Saxony Lutheran Crusaders were able to keep it interesting for three quarters on Tuesday night, but the Scott County Central Braves (17-
2) began to pull away in the fourth to come away with a win, 67-47.
The Crusaders were able to beat the pressure by the Braves early on to take an 8-4 lead, in the first. But, back-to-back 3-pointers by Drew Thomas and D.D. Gillespie put the Braves back in the drivers seat and that set the tempo for the rest of the game.
Saxony tied the game at 12 points later in the first, but another 3-pointer by Thomas, this time from half-court and at the buzzer, put the Braves ahead, 21-17 at the end of the first.
The Crusaders pulled within two points at the 1:22 mark in the second quarter, 29-27, but the Braves would let them go no further to make it a 34-
27 lead at halftime.
With the score 42-36 in the Braves favor and time running out in the third quarter, Garrett Ruppel sank a 3-pointer to put the Crusaders within three points and possibly put the momentum in they're favor going into the fourth quarter.
But, yet another buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Thomas put the momentum back with the Braves and squandered any chance of a Crusader come-back to make it a 45-39 lead going into the final quarter of play.
Scott Central outscored Saxony by 14 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
"They've got a well disciplined ball club," Braves head coach Ronnie Cookson said. "They took care of the ball and moved it around on us. But, I thought our kids held their composure and stayed in the ball game when it got down to four and six, and we got the buckets that we needed."
Most of those buckets came from Drew Thomas who lead both squads with 21 points. Thomas was also 3-5 from the 3-point line, with all of those three 3-pointers coming at a crucial time when Saxony crept closer towards the lead. Thomas was also a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe and recorded four rebounds.
Bobby Hatchett scored 15 points and also created some baskets with five assists on the night. D.D. Gillespie had 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Caleb Johnson was held to nine points and had eight rebounds.
"I had some kids come off the bench that really helped us out and give the other kids a breather," Cookson said. "I think that was the key to the ball game."
"After we substituted, we jumped up about six or eight more points, and I think that was what broke it open right there. Not my great substituting, but the kids came in and done a good job."
Otto Porter was one of those substitutes who came in and had a big impact in the post. Porter had eight rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 11. Porter also chipped in with four points.
"I thought we played really well for three quarters," Crusader head coach John Daniel said. "But, unfortunately, it's a 32 minute game and they really turned it up early in the fourth and separated themselves, and once our kids got down eight or ten, I thought we panicked a little bit and they just pulled away."
Daniels felt like when his team got into their press offense, they handled the Braves pressure defense pretty well, and when his team got a rebound and had to bring it up the floor and weren't in their press offense, Scott Central still got into they're press and that's when it got a little bit more difficult for the Crusaders.
"We made a couple turnovers that they converted into lay-ups and they do that better than anybody," Daniels said. "When you make a turnover against Scott County Central they go put it in the hole and nobody does that better than them."
Saxony Lutheran was led by Max Wieser who scored 17 points and Austin Kwikkel finished the game with 11 points.
Scott Central's next game will be on Thursday night against New Madrid County Central. A game that was supposed to have been played last Friday but was cancelled due to the weather. Cookson thinks it will be a tough game, but enjoys the challenges that local teams give.
"Tough, tough, tough, double tough," Cookson said about NMCC. "We're looking forward to it. We're going to go down there and play them and have a good time. We enjoy playing New Madrid and we enjoy playing Saxony Lutheran. We enjoy playing everybody."
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Scott County Central Braves continued their junior varsity dominance Tuesday night, pounding the Saxony Lutheran Crusaders, 67-33.
The Braves led at halftime by the score of 51-14 to put the game well in their hands.
Reggie Woodson scored a game-high 25 points to lead all scorers. Stewart Johnson finished with 19 points.
Shawn Hadler led the Crusaders with eight points, while Jonathan Schmidt had six.