(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
COLUMBIA -- Scott County Central junior Otto Porter single handedly gave his team the kind of start they always want.
Porter was unconscious from the field knocking down his first seven shots and finishing with a game-high 33 points and 14 rebounds as he gave the Braves one of their well-known, early leads in the first quarter.
Feeding off of Porter's lights-out play, the Braves dispatched the Dadeville Bearcats on Thursday night in their Class 1 semifinals game at the Hearnes Center in Columbia with an 86-53 win.
"I see it all the time in practice," Braves senior Bobby Hatchett said about Porter. "Once he's hitting you just have to keep giving him the ball. He's giving us a lead. Somebody has to be hitting. Most of the time it's him. You just keep feeding him."
In just two minutes and 15 seconds in the first quarter, Porter had the Braves up 16-2. He scored off of offensive rebounds, layups, assists from Hatchett and jump shots with his sweet stroke. He scored 14 of the Braves' first 16 points. Hatchett added the other bucket to make it 8-0.
The Braves led 22-8 after the first quarter -- Porter had 16.
Things continued to go the Braves' way in the second quarter as Porter was having quite the first half. Scott Central outscored Dadeville 31-16 throughout the second as Hatchett began finding a certain rhythm of his as well. Not so much his shooting rhythm, but his point guard rhythm.
Hatchett did have 10 points at the end of the first half on 4-of-10 shooting but he also had six assists and two steals. He was just as happy to keep giving the ball to his cousin 'Bubba'.
"I wasn't hitting the first half," said Hatchett, who finished with 19 points. "So [Porter] was like 'man, this is your half.' I'm telling him to keep going. Whoever's hitting, is hitting. We just want to win. We love each other."
"We knew what we were expecting," Dadeville senior Brock Toler said. "We knew that Otto was going to be a beast inside and we knew Bobby was going to handle the ball great outside. They're both two outstanding players. It was a rough night, that's for sure."
Adding to the dominance of the Braves was the struggles the Bearcats were having.
Dadeville missed six of their first seven shots and scored their first basket just under two and a half minutes into the game. A layup by Toler made it an 8-2 game in the first quarter.
Dadville also coughed up nine turnovers in the first quarter which the Braves scored eight points from.
"Tonight's game was one of those games where we knew we would have our work cut out for us," Dadeville head coach Michael Linehan said. "We started the game, missed our first three or four open shots, had three or four turnovers right away and dug ourselves a pretty good hole. The first half was not near as competitive as it could have been or should have been."
Toler admitted that the sheer presence of the swarming Braves defense had something to do with the way things got started for the Bearcats. The usually sure shot Bearcats were 10-of-23 (43 percent) from the field in the first half and had 15 turnovers to boot.
"We for sure came out playing timid," said Toler. "We came out scared and really, I think the outcome of the game would be a lot different if we came out loose and playing our game.
"They play a lot different style of basketball than we see in the PCL," Toler added. "Everybody brings the ball down, sets a play. [SCC] catches the ball, they fly. It's just a totally different style of tempo of basketball."
Throughout their season, Dadeville had scheduled eight Class 3 teams to try and prepare themselves for what they were going to see at the state tournament. Out of the teams they played, nothing could have prepared them for what the Braves had to offer.
"It's still not the same style," said Linehan. "It's tougher schools, bigger schools, bigger competition but, still not the same style. We're not used to this style.
"I've never seen that kind of speed and that kind of talent. They've got the most talent I've ever seen in any Class 1 school. They work hard and they crash those boards aggressively. They're a good combination of hard work and talent."
Seeing them twice before during the summer, Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright had a different idea as to how the game would turn out.
"I didn't expect it to be a 30-point ball game by any means," said Wright. "I think we just put a little pressure on them and they kind of backed off a little bit from the pressure. We got a few steals and hit some shots and they didn't hit shots."
Dadeville was led by Zachary Medley's 22 points. Toler added 15 points in the loss.
Scott Central will play Pilot Grove on Saturday night at 8:20 p.m. in the Class 1 state championship at Mizzou Arena for a chance to give their school a 14th state title. Pilot Grove defeated Braymer 86-61 in the final game of the night on Thursday.
SCOTT COUNTY CENTRAL (86) -- Bobby Hatchett 7-18 5-6 19, Trey Johnson 3-3 0-0 6, Otto Porter 16-19 1-2 33, Bryan Freed 1-3 0-0 2, Calvin Porter 1-4 4-4 6, Lawrence Woodson 3-4 2-4 9, Lamarcus Steward 1-2 0-0 2, Dominique Porter 2-4 3-4 7, John Rhoden 1-1 0-0 2, Zachary Abernathy 0-0 0-1 0. FG 35-59, FT 15-21, F 13.
DADEVILLE (53) -- Brock Toler 7-9 1-3 15, Trenton Bergmann 1-5 0-0 3, Cole Long 1-7 2-2 4, Zachary Medley 8-16 4-5 22, Dakota Webb 2-5 0-0 4, Jacob Goodman 0-1 1-2 1, Robert Cowan 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Vanhooser 1-1 2-2 4. FG 20-45, FT 10-14, F 13.
3-Point Goals--SCC 1-6 (Woodson 1-1, Hatchett 0-4, Freed 0-1), Dadeville 3-12 (Medley 2-6, Bergmann 1-3, Long 0-2, Webb 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--SCC 33 (O. Porter 14), Dadeville 23 (Webb 5). Assists--SCC 15 (Hatchett 8), Dadeville 8 (Bergmann, Webb 3).