(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- They each wanted to focus on two players.
Scott County Central was focusing their pressure on Charleston senior Deonte Jones and sophomore Gregory Tucker while the Bluejays were after senior Bobby Hatchett and junior Otto Porter.
"Mainly, we just wanted to shut down their main two scorers," Tucker said about the Braves. "That's a hard task."
Porter and Hatchett combined for 62 points on Friday night as Scott County Central defeated the Bluejays 85-67 at Charleston High School.
"They have two great players," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said. "They don't make very many mistakes."
The game plan around Porter was to attempt to keep him away from the boards, especially the offensive boards. For the most part, Charleston did that. Frankly, because there wasn't too many opportunities after Porter got the ball around the basket.
"I thought my kids did as well of a job as they could against him," Farmer said. "They tried to keep him off the boards but, he managed to get there and get the rebound when he needed to. He's just a smart ball player."
Porter finished with 33 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
"Every now and then I would help off of my man and try to get on Otto," Tucker said. "There's not really anybody around here that can stop him with his size and skills. That's a tough match-up."
Trying to slow down Hatchett consisted of making him stay out on the perimeter, forcing him to shoot outside shots. If he did decide to drive and dish, Charleston was going to have someone step up and take a charge.
"We were just trying to make him shoot jump shots and stay off of him," said Tucker. "When he drove, we was trying to get the help man to take a charge."
Keeping him away from the basket and converging on him when he drove had a bit of an effect on Hatchett. The Braves committed seven turnovers in the first quarter with a few being when Hatchett tried to maneuver around the double team.
"They were going to play real physical when I drive and make me shoot the outside jumper," said Hatchett. "I didn't hit very many shots but, you just have to keep shooting. I'm more of a drive and dish type so, I just have to keep shooting."
Hatchett, who still finished with 29 points, began to get in a bit of a rhythm when the Braves started pulling away in the second half. He had seven steals on the night which accounted for some transition baskets on the other end.
"Our game plan worked great against a great team," Farmer said. "We just needed them to make some mistakes, which they don't."
As for containing Tucker and Jones, Scott Central had a bit of success. They held Jones to 13 points while Tucker had 11. The each had six rebounds as well.
"You have to focus on those two," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "Those are their two go-to guys and you have to focus on them. We did a good job of knowing where they were. When we played them last time, their other kids came out and hit some shots early and kind of gave them some room to work. This time they didn't do that. We kept on them a little better."
Both Tucker and Jones have proven when they are hitting their shots, the Bluejays are tough to beat. Even while beating the full-court press, neither Tucker or Jones could find that rhythm they needed.
"We had to hit our shots," said Farmer. "When you live by those outside shots you're not going to hit them all the time. In order for us to win that game we had to shoot the (heck) out of the ball."
A close 19-18 first quarter lead by the Braves jumped up to a 12-point advantage at the half. Scott Central (13-1) used the free throw line as the difference maker as they combined to hit 11-of-13 in the second quarter while Charleston went 3-of-4. As a team, the Braves were 27-of-33 from the charity stripe.
The Bluejays cut it as close as three points just two minutes into the third quarter with an 11-2 run. Scott Central countered with a 20-7 run to end the quarter and go up 64-48 heading into the fourth period.
Charleston (5-10) got as close as 14 points in the fourth quarter but two consecutive steals from Hatchett and back-to-back buckets from him as well, ended the run and sealed the 85-67 win.
Including Tucker and Jones, Charleston had a total of 10 players contribute points. Ryan Parham, Demarques McKeller and Devonte Johnson had eight points apiece for the Bluejays.
Bryan Freed added 11 points for the Braves while Trey Johnson and Dominique Porter each chipped in with six points apiece.
CHARLESTON (67) -- Demonte Farmer 2, Maurice Moore 6, Ryan Parham 8, Jerry Carter 3, Gregory Tucker 11, Claude Armstrong 2, Deonte Jones 13, Demarques McKeller 8, Devonte Johnson 8, Fabreizio Wright 6. FG 25 FT 9-10 F 22. (3-pointers: Moore 1, Parham 2, Carter 1, Tucker 1, Jones 3. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT COUNTY CENTRAL (85) -- Bobby Hatchett 29, Trey Johnson 6, Otto Porter 33, Dominique Porter 6, Bryan Freed 11. FG 28 FT 27-33 F 11. (3-pointers: Hatchett 1, Freed 1. Fouled out: none.)