(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
DELTA -- Scott County Central's Otto Porter is human after all.
A slight hiccup had the Braves up by six points after the first quarter on 1-of-6 shooting from the junior.
"I just couldn't hit anything," said Porter. "We couldn't get going at first. We just didn't come out ready to play and we were slowed down a little bit."
Although it showed, his human side only lasted a short eight minutes.
Porter missed a total of three shots throughout the next three quarters as his 39 points led the Braves to their 26th district title in school history with an 84-46 win over the Richland Rebels on Thursday night during the Class 1, District 3 championship game at Delta High School.
"He was a little hesitant to shoot," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "He just needs to step up and shoot it. He got to thinking (and) instead of thinking he needs to shoot it."
The lack of offensive production from Porter in the first quarter had the Braves in a tight contest.
A bucket by Richland senior Mikey Latham had the Rebels down by just four points, 9-5, with just over three minutes remaining. A basket by senior Ryan Kleffer cut the Richland deficit to six points as the Braves held a 13-7 lead after the first quarter.
"We wouldn't look inside," said Wright. "We'd look one place instead of running our offense and getting it in there to where we could score. Even if we did get it in there we'd miss it. We missed a bunch of shots early."
A 3-pointer by Latham and a layup by Kleffer trimmed Scott Central's lead to just one point not even a minute into the second quarter. However, it wasn't long until the Braves began to pick it up with Porter leading the way.
The Braves outscored Richland 30-17 in the second quarter which included a 17-2 run in less than three minutes time. Porter accounted for eight of those 17 points during the run with four consecutive baskets.
"We picked it up," Porter said about the second quarter. "We really wanted to win this one so we decided to pick it up."
Porter hit seven of his nine shot attempts in the second quarter. After four points in the first quarter, he finished the first half with 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks as the Braves began to get into a rhythm that seems as though they can only get in to.
"We didn't make any shots in that first quarter," Braves guard Bobby Hatchett said. "But, it was just a matter of time before we started hitting and clicking. Once we got to scoring I knew we'd be alright."
Once Porter got going there was no stopping him either. He continued to dominate in the third quarter when Scott Central put the game out of reach. He again was electric from the field missing only one shot (7-of-8) and scoring 16 points.
Even Hatchett admits when Porter gets going, it's tough not to watch him work.
"At times you do," said Hatchett, "everybody does. After you pass it to him, he can hit that shot all night. I've still got to get it to him though. That's my job."
Hatchett did his job well. In addition to his 18 points, the senior point guard swarmed to the ball, deflected passes for steals and dished out assists almost effortlessly. Hatchett found Porter for two alley-oops as well. Once during the second quarter and once more to cap off the third quarter in which the Braves ended with a 71-42 lead.
"We were just having some fun. Not being cocky at all; just having fun," said Hatchett. "We know what each other can do and I can lob it up and he can go and get it. We were just having fun. That's what makes us want to keep getting better."
Scott Central scored 58 of their 84 total points throughout the second and third quarters. Porter scored 30 of his game-high in that exact same time. He finished the game 17-of-25 (68 percent) from the field and included 19 rebounds and five blocked shots as well in the district championship winner.
"It means a lot," Porter said about winning the district championship. "It means we're one step closer to winning a state championship."
Richland was led by senior Drew Thornton's 15 points and 12 rebounds. Kleffer and Mac Thornton added 13 and 10 respectively. Latham finished with six points and six rebounds.
The Braves move on to the sectional round of the Class 1 tournament as they will play the winner of the St. Elizabeth-Chamois game of the District 4 finals that will be played tonight.
"This is another step," Hatchett said. "We're not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves. We can't stop here and we can't be satisfied. We have to stay hungry."
RICHLAND (46) -- Mikey Latham 6, Drew Thornton 15, Ryan Kleffer 13, Mac Thornton 10, Richard Forshee 2. FG 16 FT 13-26 F 12. (3-pointers: Latham 1. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CENTRAL (84) -- Bobby Hatchett 18, Trey Johnson 8, Lamarcus Steward 6, Otto Porter 39, Dominique Porter 5, Bryan Freed 6, John Rhoden 2. FG 36 FT 8-17 F 20. (3-pointers: Hatchett 1, Freed 2, O. Porter 1. Fouled out: none.)