(Photos by Chris Pobst, Staff)
ORAN -- For Scott County Central and senior Drew Thomas, their one and only loss to the Memphis Central Warriors in the Riverbend Classic last week has continued to be a motivator for their last two games.
"We just looked back on our loss and take out all of our anger on [our opponent's]," Thomas said.
After falling 5-2 to the Hawks within the first minute of the game, the Braves went on a scoring frenzy outscoring Kelly 27-2 to finish out the first quarter.
"We were controlling tempo for about two minutes and then after that, they take over," Kelly head coach Nate Wills said about the first quarter. "They make you play their style. And that's a trait of a great team."
The first half was a highlight show for the fans at Oran High School as they saw five dunks from the Braves. Thomas threw down three himself while Bobby Hatchett and Otto Porter each got one as well.
The Braves continued to do their damage in the second half by outscoring the Hawks 26-3 in the third quarter alone, with their pressure defense paying big dividends.
"We ran into a freight train tonight (Thursday) and we didn't get off the tracks," Wills added. "They were outstanding. We didn't have what I would consider bad passes, they just made us make mistakes."
Thomas, who finished the game with 37 points and seven rebounds, did most of his damage in the first half. He reeled off 16 points in the first quarter and went into half time with 25. This was also Thomas' third 30-point performance out of the Braves first four games.
Randy Timmons pulled down the most rebounds for the Braves with nine and he also was the second leading scorer with 16. Hatchett recorded his first double-double on the season with 11 points and 10 assists. He also stole the ball four times. Dezmin Williams added 10 points to the total while Porter grabbed seven rebounds and scored four points.
"As of right now, we're clicking good," Thomas said about the Braves' season so far. "We had sort of a sluggish start but I think we just started off on the wrong foot."
Kelly was led by Josh DeBrock's 12 points while Michael Fisher chipped in the seven.
"Anytime you can play one of the premier teams in Southeast Missouri there's a positive there," Wills said. "You grow from it. I'm glad we got to play them early because from this point on, we can see where the bar is set and where everybody else falls in the pecking order. It gives you an idea of where you are at."
The No. 1 seed Braves (3-1) will face the No. 6 seed Advance Hornets in the championship game tonight at 8 p.m. The No. 5 seed Hawks (1-1) are up against the No. 2 seed Twin Rivers Royals in the third place game at 6:30 p.m.
ORAN -- In the consolation bracket, the host team Oran Eagles defeated the Malden Greenwave 54-37 on Thursday night to advance to the consolation championship.
The Eagles utilized a big first quarter performance from Preston Scherer and Jon Morrow who scored 11 of their 18 first quarter points.
"Our kids played with a little bit more confidence tonight," Oran head coach Joe Shoemaker said. "We still had some unforced errors and some mental errors that we're going to have to clean up. But, we did a better job of blocking out and rebounding."
Scherer led the Eagles with 17 points while Morrow was right behind with 16.
The Greenwave were led by Raphael Jones' 13 points.
Oran will play the Bell City Cubs at 5 p.m. to kick off the final night of the Oran Invitational Tournament for the consolation championship.
ORAN -- The Advance Hornets advanced to the championship game of the Oran Invitational by defeating the Twin Rivers Royals 73-53 on Thursday evening.
The Hornets used a 24-8 second quarter to pull ahead to a substantial lead and held on in the second half for the win. Advance was led by David VanGennip who scored 26 points and Jacob Bond chipped in with 20.
Twin Rivers falls to the third place game where they will face the Kelly Hawks tonight at 6:30 p.m.