PORTAGEVILLE -- Deonte Jones scored from all over the court Friday night. He hit layups, knocked down mid-range jumpers, and nailed long-range 3-pointers to lead Charleston to a 77-53 victory over the Portageville Bulldogs.
It was clear from the start that Jones was on his way to a big-time offensive performance. At the end of the first quarter, Jones had 11 of Charleston's 17 points. "Deonte was pretty good tonight," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell. "We were trying to guard him with a freshman and a sophomore and they did as well as they could."
Although the Bluejays held only a three-point lead at the start of the second quarter, they were able to extend their lead with a strong offensive team effort.
Jones added 11 more points in the frame, but this time he had some help from other Bluejays, including two 3-pointers from sophomore Aaron Cassell.
Portageville was able to pull down several offensive rebounds throughout the first two quarters, but the Bluejays were always quick to contest shots and the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize.
Charleston's high-octane offense, coupled with a strong second quarter defensive effort, gave them a comfortable 19-point cushion at halftime.
The third quarter was déjà vu all over again for the Bulldogs. Charleston posted 25 points in the period while limiting Portageville to only eight.
"In the third quarter [Charleston] came out and their athleticism took over," Bidewell said. "We kind of had a letdown."
Jones had another strong quarter, adding nine more points, despite only playing until the 3:30 mark.
By the end of three quarters, it was clear that depth problems were taking their toll on Portageville. The Bulldogs were able to utilize only two or three players off the bench compared to eleven total players who saw playing time for the Bluejays.
Portageville is without starters Fred Treadwell and Fernando Minnis, who left the team.
While Portageville owned the offensive glass in the first half, second-chance opportunities were few and far between for the Bulldogs in the second half. The Portageville defense also failed to slow down the potent Bluejay offensive attack.
"We turned up our defensive pressure and [Portageville] kind of ran out of gas. They were playing only six or seven guys while we tried to play about ten," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer.
Charleston was able to increase their lead to as many as 36 points in the third quarter. With the game in hand, Coach Farmer began making mass substitutions, including sitting Jones for the remainder of the game. Despite playing only two and a half quarters, Jones finished with a game-high 31 points.
"We played well enough to rest some guys for our game tomorrow," Farmer said, alluding to Saturday's home matchup with Maplewood-Richmond Heights.
Despite contending with a running clock to start the final period, the Bulldogs were able to cut into the deficit somewhat, outscoring Charleston 20-8. Their effort would not be nearly enough, however, as they failed to narrow the gap to less than 20 points. While Coach Bidewell was disappointed in the loss, he was impressed with his teams effort and attitude.
"We played hard," Bidewell said. "I'm proud of our kids. They're team players, and I don't mind losing with team players."
Meanwhile, Farmer praised the intensity of his team, as well as the performance of his leading scorer.
"We played hard. I was concerned that we wouldn't come out and play with enough intensity," said Farmer. "Deonte really played well and they had trouble stopping him."
Charleston improved to 8-11 on the season while Portageville fell to 13-7.
CHARLESTON (77) -- Demonte Farmer 2, Maurice Moore 6, Jerry Carter 12, Deonte Jones 31, Devonte Johnson 6, Fabrezio Wright 2, Aaron Cassell 12, Jamal Gray 5, Devante Rigney 1. FG 34 FT 3-13 F 20. (3-pointers: Jones 3, Cassell 1, Gray 1. Fouled out: none.)
PORTAGEVILLE (53) -- Tevin Walker 18, Isaac Ray 11, Denzell Simmons 2, Dominique Walker 10, Blake Posey 2, Jake Young 10. FG 19 FT 13-22 F 11. (3-pointers: T. Walker 1, D. Walker 1. Fouled out: none.)