(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- The New Madrid County Central Eagles went into Thursday evening's match-up against the visiting Doniphan Dons with a relatively simple game plan -- crash the paint. Following the tip, it was apparent that the plan was going to work quite well as after four quarters it was another victory in the books for the Eagles, 70-42.
Doniphan's offense was no match for the NMCC defense in the first quarter as they coughed up the ball four times before breaking their scoring silence. They came charging back against the Eagles but solid rebounding by Kony Ealy and William Bledsoe on the offensive end kept NMCC's small lead in tact. After one quarter of play the Eagles led 15-9.
In the second frame Ealy, alongside Jamareia Jones and G'Darius Stevenson, provided nearly all of the damage as NMCC increased their lead to 14 at the break. Jones and Stevenson both finished with an even six points apiece while Ealy tacked on seven on two field goals and a 3-point basket.
Turnovers once again plagued the Dons as they finished with four in the quarter and nine in the first half. NMCC head coach Travis Day said that their guard play up front helped out a lot in establishing the lead.
The Eagles pushed their lead to 18 points in the third quarter as they started out with a 4-0 run. The lead grew to 21 in the third before Doniphan rattled off a few shots to cut the lead to 19 at the end of the third, 54-35.
In the fourth quarter it was Lamonte Nelson who led in scoring for NMCC. Nelson scored six in the quarter and following the game, Day said that Nelson and his counterpart, Keith Holmes, are doing well running the offense for the Eagles early in the season.
"He's holding the fort down," Day said of Nelson, who's starting in place of the injured Dontre Jenkins. "That's all I'm asking those guys (Nelson and Holmes) to do. I tell the guys that we have the type of team that we should have a different leading scorer every night."
Day said that he and his staff tell the squad to just play their own game and not to add anything extra, and said so far this season it's working well for the Eagles.
"He and Keith are slowly getting better every game," Day said of Nelson and Holmes' performances. "It's going to be slow, but we're getting there."
As for the win, Day said the plan of attack was a success against Doniphan.
"We stuck to our game plan of attacking the paint," he said. "We worked on it all day yesterday. Whatever we do, we have to be attacking the paint -- whether it's a shot in the paint or an offensive board."
"We rebounded tonight," said Day. "Everybody got in there."
Ealy and Stevenson shared the game-high in points for NMCC as they both finished with 18 points apiece in the win. Nelson finished with 11 while Bledsoe scattered 10 points across four quarters for the Eagles.
Greg Davis led Doniphan with 14 points in the loss.
Up next for the 3-4 NMCC squad is a short break until they suit up again on Dec. 28 in the Carbondale Holiday Tournament against Tri-County.
DONIPHAN (42) -- Taylor Smith 6, Dillon Dusza 2, Hunter Smith 4, Derek Pittman 2, James Moore 3, Derek Hutchins 2, Gavin Wilfong 9, Greg Davis 14. FG 15, FT 11-17, F 12. (3-pointers -- none. Fouled out -- none).
NMCC (70) -- Lamonte Nelson 11, Keith Holmes 5, Jamareia Jones 6, G'Darius Stevenson 18, Kony Ealy 18, Zach Rucker 2, William Bledsoe 10. FG 28, FT 12-22, F 14. (3-pointers -- Nelson 1, Ealy 1. Fouled out -- none).