(Chris Pobst, Staff)
He drained a 3-pointer to open the scoring for the Bluejays in the first quarter as Johnson would end up tied for the game-high of 26 points with a total of four 3-pointers on the night.
"Coach just told me to keep shooting," Johnson said. "I was feeling it."
Johnson was a big lift to the Charleston offense that pulled away late in the fourth quarter to take care of the visiting Caruthersville Tigers on the Bluejays homecoming night, 87-72.
"He's been getting better every game," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said about Johnson. "Again, tonight, he's becoming more consistent."
Johnson, who is a part of a group of players just joining the Bluejays since the Christmas break, agreed that he is starting to get used to the pace of the offense. An offense once focused around senior Deonte Jones and sophomore Gregory Tucker has suddenly found a few more options.
Johnson and another junior, Jerry Carter, took a lot of pressure off of Jones and Tucker on Friday night. Johnson and Carter combined for 41 points while Jones and Tucker had the opportunity to be a little more free from the usual double teams they have seen in the past.
"I'm real happy," Jones said about the added production. "I have double teams coming at me and teams are focusing on me and Gregory. I'm happy we got some other people stepping up."
Johnson scored 10 of the Bluejay's 21 first quarter points which included two 3-pointers. Tucker also had two 3-pointers in the first period as they held Caruthersville to 11.
Charleston (6-11) held firm to around a 10-point lead for most of the game until the fourth quarter.
A once 12-point lead was erased by a 7-0 run by the Tigers. A missed 3-pointer from Caleb Moss was recovered by it's shooter, Moss, who got it back shortly after to knock down his only field goal of the night. That closed a once 19-point lead in the third quarter to a mere five-point game with just under five minutes left to go.
"We told them that it was about getting stops now," Caruthersville head coach David Heeb said. "If we got a few stops we were going to win. We had made it a manageable game again."
The very next possession from the Bluejays ended up playing spoiler for a Tiger comeback. Carter converted a conventional 3-point play to give Charleston an eight-point lead again.
"These new guys are kind of blending in now," Farmer said. "Hopefully, by the end of the season we can become more of a cohesive unit."
After a 7-of-8 free throw performance from a combination of Tucker and Jones due to a few technical fouls, the Bluejays sat atop of comfortable 78-62 advantage with just under three minutes remaining.
"We just didn't get stops," Heeb said. "Once we got in the half-court, we just didn't find their shooters. Part of that is they're hard to match-up with. They have about four guards out there a lot of times. We just didn't help well enough tonight."
Tucker tied Johnson's 26 points while Jones added 17 of his own. Carter chipped in with 15. Charleston shot 45 percent from the field on Friday night but was a stellar 50 percent from behind the arc. Johnson and Carter each hit four 3-pointers apiece while Tucker added two himself.
"They really shot the ball well," Heeb said. "But, I thought we had some key break downs from some of our older kids. I don't know if you chalk that up to being over-aggressive or just the heat of the moment. We flat out left some shooters to go trap or do something and they made it. They shot the ball well."
Caruthersville's Elbie Fonda led the Tigers with 22 points while Vohland Fonda added a healthy 20 points and Claude Taylor chipped in 11. Caruthersville (8-5) shot 47 percent from the field.
CARUTHERSVILLE (72) -- Belton McWilliams 8, Elbie Fonda 22, Caleb Moss 3, David Shaw 6, Durran Young 1, Vohland Fonda 20, Seth Littrell 1, Claude Taylor 11. FG 26 FT 17-27 F 18. (3-pointers: Moss 1, V. Fonda 2. Fouled out: E. Fonda.)
CHARLESTON (87) -- Demonte Farmer 1, Jerry Carter 15, Gregory Tucker 26, Deonte Jones 17, Devonte Johnson 26, Fabreizio Wright 2. FG 27 FT 23-29 F 17. (3-pointers: Carter 4, Tucker 2, Johnson 4. Fouled out: none.)