By Chris Pobst
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Scott County Central senior Bobby Hatchett is always smiling.
When he gets a steal and makes a layup -- he smiles. He leaves his defender with a knee-buckling cross-over and then scores -- he smiles. He even misses a dunk and there's still a smile.
It's not to be cocky at all. He's just simply having fun.
"I'm a people person," he said. "I like this type of stuff."
Hatchett continued to be all smiles after Scott County Central's 75-47 win over the Cape Central Tigers on Wednesday night as the Braves claimed back-to-back seMissourian Christmas Tournament championships in yet another one-sided performance.
"We just try to keep it like a family," Hatchett said. "We try to keep it like that so we can really have fun. We've all been playing together since I was little. We grew up together and I love playing with them and they love playing with me."
That fun, family camaraderie quickly gave Scott Central an almost insurmountable lead right from the start. The Tigers had no answer for 6-8 junior Otto Porter as he gobbled up six first quarter rebounds to go along with his 10 first quarter points. The Braves went up 19-2 with still three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Porter finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Cape Central also had their troubles with Hatchett, just as every other team has had. The 5-11, Division 1 recruit caused fits with his blazing speed in the Braves' famous press as he ended up with six steals that almost all ended up with an easy transition basket, either for himself or for a trailing teammate that was graciously awarded with a silky-smooth assist. Hatchett led all scorers with 22 points.
"They do such a great job of getting deflections and getting their hands on the basketball," Cape Central head coach Drew Church said. "It's just very difficult to run what we wanted to run. They took us out of our game and that's what they do against a lot of people."
Cape Central would eventually go on a run of their own to cut the deficit to seven points with just under a minute to go. However, Porter's fifth field goal and a 3-pointer that followed from Stewart Johnson gave Scott Central a 24-12 lead.
From then on, it never was as close again.
The Braves were up 40-20 at the half and then 66-32 at the end of the third quarter. Scott Central went up by as much as 38 points, twice, in the fourth quarter.
"They are a great team," Church said. "They've got a lot of talent, they play hard, they're well coached and they're just a tough team. We just ran into a buzz saw."
Scott Central cooled off arguably the hottest team of the tournament as the No. 6 seed Tigers went through two gruesome rivalry games just to get to the Wednesday finale. They first upset the No. 3 seed Jackson Indians in the second round and on the very next night upset the Notre Dame Bulldogs, the No. 2 seed, in a five-point game.
For the Braves to be the third and final game of that gauntlet was just a mountain to big to climb.
"I think playing so hard the last two nights kind of caught up with us," Church said. "This was another game that was a full-court game and I think our kids got a little tired.
"You get a six seed and that's the route you have to take and we accepted that. They did the best they possibly could."
Cape Central's James Lane and Kevin Casasola had their squad on a rampant pace until running into the Braves. Lane had scored a total of 43 points in their first three games while Casasola added a hefty 48.
"We just had to get out on them," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "Lane is a good slasher and a good kid inside. He goes to the boards hard and we just had to put a body on him. We had to get a hand on Casasola. He hit three 3's in a row against Notre Dame to put them up and kept them up. That's what we tried to make sure he didn't do tonight."
The Braves kept both of them under wraps as they each ended with eight points a piece. Zach Boerboom led the Tigers with 12 points.
"We wanted to keep an eye on them," Hatchett said about Lane and Casasola. "We did try and contain them."
Stewart Johnson added 17 points for the Braves as Trey Johnson and Dominique Porter each added eight points a piece.
The Hatchett smile caught on with Porter throughout the game as the two hooked up for two, two-handed alley-oop dunks with Hatchett doing the dishing and Porter doing the slamming.
"We always smile at each other," Porter said. "We just want to have fun out there."
This was Scott Central's second consecutive tournament championship after defeating the Notre Dame Bulldogs 80-62 last year and their sixth overall.
CAPE CENTRAL (47) -- Dylan Thomas 2, Blake Ozbun 4, Andrew Williams 9, James Lane 8, Josh Compas 2, Keyon Moore 2, Kevin Casasola 8, Zach Boerboom 12. FG 17 FT 10-16 F 11. (3-pointers: Willaims 2, Casasola. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CENTRAL (75) -- Stewart Johnson 17, Bobby Hatchett 22, Trey Johnson 8, Otto Porter 18, Dominique Porter 8, Calvin Porter 2. FG 34 FT 3-11 F 15. (3-pointers: S. Johnson 2, Hatchett , D. Porter. Fouled out: none.)