(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Led by Gregory Tucker's 35 points and five rebounds Saturday afternoon, the Charleston Bluejays turned a 16-point halftime lead into a 95-71 win over the visiting New Madrid County Central Eagles.
"When Greg is on, he's on," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said of Tucker. "I expect that out of Greg. I've been talking to him and a few games he's not been playing up to (his capabilities).
"I told him today he needed to make a statement."
Helping the Bluejays set the tone from opening tipoff, Tucker was able to make that statement early, scoring 10 first quarter points before finishing the half with 23 to help put his team up 48-32 going into the break.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Charleston kept the offense rolling in the second half, leaving the third frame with a 23-point advantage before going on an 8-0 run late in the fourth to take their biggest lead of the night at 90-65 with 1:25 to play.
"We just came out hot," said Tucker, who shot 14-of-23 from the floor on against the Eagles. "That's how we can come out. We're a good shooting team and if we come out hot, we can beat anybody."
On an game where 11 Charleston players put up points, Jerry Carter finished second on the Bluejays squad with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, to go along with three rebounds.
"We shot it well tonight," Farmer said of his team. "And we had to shoot it well because (NMCC) scored a bunch of buckets (too)."
For NMCC, Akayla McClachey finished the game with a team-high 18 points while Jamareia Jones and Lamonte Nelson scored 14 and 11 points respectively.
"We're missing too many layups and too many wide-open shots," NMCC head coach Travis Day said. "How many wide-open shots can you miss? That's hurting, because we miss a layup and then the next thing you know, they might hit a three.
"That's the stuff we have to get better at and improve on."
Day added that he thought his team's effort was there, but that they need to play well for four full quarters instead of in spurts if they want to be competitive in the second half of the season.
"I tell the guys right now, for us, it's about putting in the work to get better," he said. "When the second phase of the season comes, talking about districts, then let's see where we can go from there."
Now at 2-12, the Eagles will host the Scott City Rams on Tuesday with junior varsity action starting at 6 p.m. while the Bluejays (11-5) will host Kelly, also on Tuesday, with junior varsity play starting at 6 p.m.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, Charleston's junior varsity team also came away with a win, beating NMCC's junior varsity 66-30.
NMCC (71) -- Akayla McClachey 18, Lamonte Nelson 11, Keith Holmes 3, Jamareia Jones 14, Earl Grissom 2, CJ Chism 6, JaShawn McDaniel 7, Dotrae Hicks 10. FG 28, FT 12-15, F 14. (3-pointers: Nelson 1, Holmes 1, McDaniel 1. Fouled out: none)
CHARLESTON (95) -- Avery Williams 5, Aaron Cassell 6, Maurice Moore 2, Ryan Parham 6, Michael Hull 2, Trey Watkins 2, Gregory Tucker 35, Jamaul Gray 2, Claude Armstrong 7, Jerry Carter 18, Krushon Scott 4. FG 39, FT 9-11, F 11. (3-pointers: Tucker 4, Carter 3, Williams 1. Fouled out: none)
NMCC (30) -- Corey Guest 8, Alex Allison 1, SheQuan Polk 2, Shermon Taylor 4, Jimmy Caldwell 2, Tevin Winfield 3, Brandon Ray 4, Darrin McGloson 6. FG 11, FT 8-11, F 13. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
CHARLESTON (66) -- Will Davis 6, Maurice Moore 5, Michael Kellum 4, Robert Bogan 10, Ja'Marcquelle Pittman 7, Sumner Foster 7, Shandor Webster 2, Trey Watkins 5. FG 27, FT 11-20, F 8. (3-pointers: Pittman 1. Fouled out: none)