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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

Surprising Bell City beats Jackson to win first-ever championship

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

(Photo)
Charlestn's Brian Parham scored eight points in Saturday's third place victory over Notre Dame.
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Charleston Bluejays rebounded from a disappointing loss to defeat the Notre Dame Bulldogs 83-73 for third place at the 62nd annual Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Saturday.

"After last night (Friday), the only way to get that out of your system is to come out and play hard," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "I didn't care about the win, but I wanted the effort and the effort brought the win."

Top-seed Charleston lost 52-46, in an uninspired effort, to No. 5 seed and eventual tournament champion Bell City in Friday's semifinal.

"Last night was kind of tough," said Charleston senior forward and captain Justin Clark. "We couldn't get it going. That was probably our worst game of the year. It was kind of embarrassing to lose to a Class 1 school. We underestimated them.

"(I was) very disappointed. My senior year--I thought we would come in first. I told the guys before we went out tonight that we just had to suck it up."

Trailing 61-58 going into the fourth quarter, the Bluejays used an 11-0 run to open the period and distance themselves from the No. 2-seeded Bulldogs.

Clark, the 'Jays leading scorer and an all-tournament choice, scored nine of the 11 points to cap a 33-point scoring night -- 21 in the second half.

"Justin is capable of that," said Farmer. "When he's on, he's on."

In the battle of two state-ranked teams, Charleston (11-2) went on to outscore Notre Dame (11-3) 25-12 in the final quarter.

"We wore them down and once they got tired they couldn't execute," Farmer said. "They were in a tough game last night, but we were in a tough game, too."

Notre Dame coach Paul Hale also acknowledged the fatigue factor late in the game.

"We were out of gas," he said. "We expended a lot of energy last night against Jackson (an 83-80 semifinal loss) and there was just not a whole lot left in the tank. Four games (in five days) is just too much for us, the way we play, but we got beat by a better team tonight."

The Bulldogs held their own early, holding leads of 22-20 after the first quarter and 44-35 at the half. An 8-0 run toward the end of the half keyed the halftime lead.

Notre Dame's 6-foot-7 junior post Ryan Willen, also an all-tournament selection, scored 16 of his team-high 26 points in the first half.

Clark's scoring - 12 third-quarter points - coupled with the 'Jays dominance on the boards, cut the Notre Dame lead to three points going into the final quarter.

"We talked about that at halftime," said Farmer, of the Bluejays' second-half rebounding supremacy. "We felt they killed us on the boards in the first half and we wanted to dominate in the second half."

Jamarcus Williams, Charleston's 6-5 senior post, was the ringleader, wiping the boards clean for 14 rebounds. Williams, voted to the all-tournament team, recorded a double-double performance with 20 points.

Sophomore guard Antonio Riggens contributed 10 points for the 'Jays.

Behind Willen's 26, Austin Greer added 17, Ty Williams 15 and Abe Dirnberger 12.

Certainly not lost on Notre Dame's Hale was the fact that his Bulldogs had given up 80-plus points in its last two outings.

"We learned that we've got to get better defensively," he said. "We're going back to work Tuesday and we're going to correct some things."

Farmer said the Bluejays' starting point guard Shawn Sherrell, sidelined with a hand injury during the team's two losses, would be available for the next game, a home meeting against rival Sikeston on Friday.

"Being without Shawn makes a big difference," said Farmer. "I think, if Shawn is on the court, we'd be undefeated now."

Clark, a two-sport standout, announced that he had given a verbal commitment to Murray State to play football, but left the door open when he stated, "But I don't know for sure. That was just to save my scholarship."

Will Bogan and Jake Leet tried to turn the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament Championship game into a one-on-one matchup with Bogan scoring 42 points and Leet going for 31.

In the end, it was Bogan and his Bell City Cubs who came out on top, 84-76.

Bell City jumped ahead early, and although Jackson would stay close throughout, the Indians never took a lead in the second half.

Each time the Indians would threaten the Cubs' lead, Bell City looked to Bogan for an answer. Jackson could not stop the 6-10 senior center as he backed down each defender they threw at him for layup after layup.

Bogan's teammate, and fellow All-Tournament Team selection, Nick Niemczyk, had 27 points on the night including several clutch free throws in the final minutes of the game.

Jackson's Leet, also named to the All-Tournament Team following the contest, made five three-point shots on the evening, but it would not be enough. Antonio Garritano also reached double figures for the Indians with 17 points.

The fifth-seeded Cubs had to upset three higher seeded teams on their way to the championship. They defeated both the fourth-seeded Scott County Central Braves and top seed Charleston before taking on three seed Jackson in the championship.

The Advance Hornets outscored the Scott County Central Braves by ten points in the fourth quarter of their fifth place showdown to gain victory.

The Braves had led by a point heading into the final period but were unable to contain the hot shooting Hornets who nailed seven three pointers on the night compared to just two for Scott Central.

Advance was also down double digits early in the game before coach Joe Shoemaker's team started putting on a passing and shooting clinic, patiently passing the ball numerous times despite the pressure of Scott County's defense.

This strategy allowed the Hornets not only to find open shots for themselves, all of which they seemed to knock down, but also slowed down a bit the game's fast pace established by the Braves.

Alex Steil, a 6-2 senior, once again led Advance in scoring with 21 points. Jacob Bond put up 11 points for the Hornets and both David VanGennip and Rusty Hendricks contributed ten points.

Scott County Central got a game high 23 points from D.D. Gillespie and 16 points from Caleb Johnson.

The Kelly Hawks claimed the consolation championship of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament over the Cape Central Tigers with a 63-56 victory.

The tenth-seeded Hawks jumped out to a 13-7 lead after one quarter never relinquished the lead.

Spencer Ayers led Kelly in scoring with 16 points while Josh DeBrock contributed 12 points and Kyle Chipman nine points.

Jajuan Bell, who averaged just over 20 points in his four tournament games, led Cape Central with 24 points. The Tigers also got 16 points from George Hamilton and nine from Kerry Walker.