(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- They may have lost one star, but the Scott County Central Braves still have their biggest standout.
Otto Porter, a 6-9 senior, will return for the Braves in his final campaign as he looks to lead the 2-time defending Class 1 state champions back to Columbia for a possible 3-peat.
"Expectations are up to the kids," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "They come in, in our first of the year meeting and talk about what they want to accomplish and their idea is get in here and work hard and try and get back to the state tournament.
"That's what they want to do and that's what they want to accomplish."
Porter comes in as the Braves' leading scorer and rebounder from last year's 29-2 state title team. He averaged 28.2 points and 14 rebounds a game for the Braves a season ago in what was highlighted by a record-setting rebounding display in the state championship game against Pilot Grove with 35 total rebounds.
He also broke the two-game rebounding record set by his father, Otto Porter Sr., by snagging 49 total in two games.
Now, with floor general Bobby Hatchett playing basketball for Midland College, a NJCAA school, in Midland, Texas, Porter will be looked upon as the leader of the Braves. A role Wright said he's filling in nicely.
"In practice and stuff he's stepping up and doing the things that need to be done," Wright said about Porter. "Hopefully in games, he can go out there and communicate real well with everybody and work well with one another."
As for replacing Hatchett, it probably won't be done.
The Braves' point guard averaged 20 points a game as well as 6.7 assists with lightning-quick moves and a pass-first mentality. He helped Scott Central to the last two of their 14 total state championships.
"We don't have anybody even close to Bobby Hatchett," Wright said. "We don't have anybody that can fill one of his shoes, much less both of them. But, hopefully, combined they can got out there and get the job done."
Trying their best to cover Hatchett's irreplaceable spot will be juniors Dominique Porter and LaMarcus Steward. The 5-10 Porter played a key role for the Braves last year as a do-it-all reserve who could handle the ball and fight for rebounds. Steward, 5-9, was also an option at guard but will be given a more active role with the departure of Hatchett.
"I've got some kids that can handle the basketball a little bit," Wright said. "They've been working real hard on their guard skills down."
Trey Johnson, Bryan Freed, Calvin Porter, Reggie Woodson and Stewart Johnson will all be returning seniors that will see the majority of playing time on a roster of 12 seniors and five juniors.
"I've got about eight kids that I'll play a lot," Wright said. "We'll have a little bit more depth than I've had in year's past."
The Braves will begin their quest for No. 15 on Friday during the Riverbend Classic at New Madrid County Central High School against North Little Rock High School at 6:30 p.m.
|N.26-27||Riverbend Classic, TBA|
|N.29-D.1||Oran Invitational, TBA|
|D.4||Marshall Hoopfest, TBA|
|D.11||Marion, Ill. Shootout, TBA|
|D.18||Eiffel Tower Shootout, TBA|
|D.27||Christmas Tourney, TBA|
|J.11||East Prairie, 6 p.m.|
|J.14||Charleston, 6 p.m.|
|J.17||Scott-Miss. Tourney, TBA|
|J.25||at Notre Dame, 6 p.m.|
|J.28||at Chaffee, 6 p.m.|
|F.2||Kelly, 6 p.m.|
|F.4||NMCC, 6 p.m.|
|F.11||Oran, 6 p.m.|
|F.15||Scott City, p.m.|
|F.22||Kennett, 6 p.m.|
|F.25||at Delta, 6 p.m.|