(Photos by Chris Pobst, Staff)
ORAN -- The Scott County Central Braves won the Oran Invitational Tournament championship on Friday night by taking care of the Advance Hornets 68-34.
The Braves were able to gain a slight lead in the first quarter with sophomore Otto Porter leading the way.
He pulled down a total of seven rebounds in the first quarter alone.
"He's tremendous on the boards," Cookson said about Porter. "He really does a good job and he works hard. I'm tickled to death to have somebody that works like that."
Porter led the Braves to a 25-14 lead with 14 points and 14 rebounds at half time.
"I've been playing with him since I was in elementary so I already know what he can do," Braves guard Bobby Hatchett said of Porter. "He's prime time. He plays hard, he works hard and he practices hard and it pays off in the game."
Scott Central went on to outscore the Hornets 13-6 in the second quarter to take an 11 point lead heading into the break.
"We kind of got a little physically spent at the end of the second quarter," Advance head coach Josh Dowdy said. "We were comfortable where we were at going into half. All in all, we just came back out in the second half and were a little physically spent."
The Braves were able to keep the Hornets from scoring for almost eight minutes between the second and third quarters with their haunting defense leading the way.
During that stretch, the Braves rattled off 24 unanswered points to pull away for good.
"I thought the kids really hustled," Cookson said about their defense. "They worked hard on the press and that was the difference in the ball game. They've got too many good shooters and we had to be all over them."
The second half was when Hatchett made his presence felt and known after sitting out the first half for medical reasons.
Hatchett passed for six assists and scored eight points in the second half.
"I try to just get everybody involved," Hatchett said. "That's what coach really wants me to do. I just get everybody involved and then do what I got to do."
Drew Thomas led the Braves with 24 points on the night. He also had seven rebounds and six assists as well. Dezmin Williams, who pulled down 10 rebounds, added 10 points.
Advance was led by Jacob Bond's 13 points. David VanGennip chipped in with eight points while Luke Steil added seven.
This was the Braves 16th tournament championship, which is the most by any one team in it's history and it's their first since 1992.
Every time that Scott Central has won a state championship in the past, they have won the Oran Invitational first.
"I told the boys that [in the locker room]," Cookson said jokingly. "I said 'now the pressure's on you buddy, the pressure's on you.'"
"It's an eagle on our head," Hatchett added. "We just have to keep working hard, keep playing together and just get better and have fun."
"To me, really it isn't a very big achievement because the achievement is to win the state tournament," Thomas said. "This is just one of the steps towards that goal."
Scott Central (4-1) will play host to Ellington on Tuesday night following the junior varsity game that will start at 6 p.m.
ORAN -- The Kelly Hawks defeated the Twin Rivers Royals in a close 54-47 third place match-up in the Oran Invitational Tournament on Friday night.
"It's good to get a test like this," Wills said about the close game. "I expected us to come out with a lot more passion tonight. We didn't come out with that but, we were still able to win."
Kelly held a one point lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Royals were able to grab a 45-43 towards the three minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Josh DeBrock gave Kelly the lead right back with a 3-pointer with 1:47 left to play in regulation.
The Hawks were able to sink 6 out of 10 free throws from that point on to hold on for the win.
"In the fourth quarter, our experience really helped us out," Wills said. "We hit our free throws, kept our composure, didn't turn the ball over late and those where the key things. That was the ball game right there. A lot of the things we didn't do early, we were fortunate to do late and that helped us out in the end."
DeBrock led the Hawks with 21 points that included three 3-pointers. Brett Harper added 12 points to the total. Both DeBrock and Harper were a combined 3-6 at the free throw line down the stretch to help seal the win for Kelly.
Wills said that coming out of the Oran tournament with a winning record was one of their goals coming into the season.
"We feel really good about that," said Wills. "We talked about one of our goals being that we needed to come out of this tournament 2-1. And we did that. So, we feel good about that."
Kelly (2-1) will head to Portageville on Tuesday night to take on the Bulldogs.