(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- For the last four years at Scott County Central High School senior Otto Porter has filled Ronnie Cookson Gymnasium with jaw-dropping performances.
Although they seem somewhat routine nowadays, his last home game was another dominant outing added to the list.
The 6-9, Jordan Brand All-Star selection scored a game-high 38 points and pulled down 20 rebounds against the Kennett Indians on Tuesday, leading the Braves to an 81-49 Senior Night win.
"I'm going to miss this place," said Porter. "This is our last season and we just wanted to come out with all intentions of playing hard."
Scott Central (22-2) did just that as they gained an early 6-0 advantage. The Indians, however, held off the Braves' usual pattern of insurmountable first quarter leads, tying the game at 8-8 behind two 3-pointers from Fred Garmon and Cameron Wallace.
Porter, though, had an answer.
The senior scored Scott Central's last eight points of the quarter with his final shot in the first being one of his best of the season.
Inbounding the ball with just over four seconds showing on the clock, Porter shook his defender, caught the pass and tried to dribble closer to the basket. Being held up by Wallace, Porter noticed time running down and put up a 25-foot shot that tickled the bottom of the net. Porter was also fouled on the shot and promptly sank the free throw for the four-point play.
"He's hit two of those in this gym this year like that," Scott County Central coach Kenyon Wright said about the play. "It's just been lucky as can be. I hope he can keep hitting those down the stretch though."
Porter's 'luck' gave the Braves a 16-10 lead after the first quarter and helped keep momentum on their side in the second where they began with a 7-0 run.
The Indians, like in the first quarter, didn't allow the Braves to keep pouring it on.
Content on taking outside shots, Kennett became lights out from behind the arc. Randrick Caruthers sank two 3-pointers while both Jay Shavers and Garmon, who led Kennett with 17 points, added one as well.
"We was going to give it to them," said Scott Central senior Trey Johnson. "We were going to wait until they hit around two or three. That's when we started checking them and tried not to let them shoot anymore."
Four 3-pointers pulled the Indians to within three points of SCC with 1:20 left in the half.
"They started hitting and we just had to be ready for that," said Porter. "We knew they were going to make a run sometime."
Kennett was able to sink more 3-pointers than they did 2-point field goals on the night. The Indians, whose 17 field goals were made up of 10 3-pointers, either had to shoot well from outside or contend with Porter in the paint.
"We hit more three's than we did two's," Kennett coach Jim Vaughn said. "We're not going to go inside and score on (Porter) on the block, consistently, or if any at all. We were going to shoot a bunch from the perimeter.
"We knew we had to make perimeter shots and if we see more go down, it changes the whole makeup of the game."
Scott Central answered with five-straight points to end the second quarter, however, taking a 34-26 lead with them into the half.
"We didn't matchup well to it," Wright said about Kennett's shooting. "We were slow getting to it. We didn't get out and check it like we've been working on. They have great set shooters and we didn't get a hand out there and put some pressure on them.
"In the second half I thought we did a better job of putting pressure on the three."
The Braves opened the second half with seven-unanswered points to put Kennett in their deepest hole of the night. Seven points by Garmon delayed the inevitable for a short time, but a 9-2 run to end the third quarter put the Braves up 52-34.
Scott Central outscored the Indians 29-15 in the fourth quarter, ending their regular season undefeated at home.
"We scheduled this game with them at this point in the season because we knew both teams were going to be decent around this time," Wright said about the win. "Two good teams got to battle. It's going to prepare them and it's going to prepare us."
Behind Porter's 38 points, Lemarcus Steward added 11 points while Dominique Porter chipped in seven.
Scott Central celebrated Senior Night by honoring 12 seniors -- Blake Pobst, Tyler Dollins, Stewart Johnson, Trey Johnson, Reggie Woodson, Otto Porter, Bryan Freed, Caleb Cockrell, Zac Abernathy, Tyrell Avance, Calvin Porter and Ben Freed.
"Having these guys and them playing their last game on this floor, I know it means a lot to them to come out with a win against a good team like Kennett," Wright said about his seniors. "I'm so proud of every guy that I've got from the very end of the bench on down. They've all put the time and work in that it takes to be a good basketball team and it shows on the court."
KENNETT (49) -- Jay Shavers 5, Randrick Caruthers 9, Cameron Wallace 9, Fred Garmon 17, Jack Walls 4, Adam Grantham 2, Andy Lack 3. FG 17, FT 5-8, F 20. (3-pointers: Shavers 1, Caruthers 2, Wallace 3, Garmon 3, Lack 1. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CENTRAL (81) -- Stewart Johnson 6, Trey Johnson 6, Otto Porter 38, Dominique Porter 7, Calvin Porter 4, Reggie Woodson 5, Lemarcus Steward 11, Bryan Freed 2, Tyler Dollins 2. FG 31, FT 18-24, F 10. (3-pointers: O. Porter 1. Fouled out: none.)