(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- After battling neck-and-neck with West Memphis, Ark., through three close quarters of play, the Charleston Bluejays saw a late surge by the Blue Devils seal a 58-50 loss to close out the 17th Annual Riverbend Classic.
"The effort was there," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said. "I can't say anything about that, but we have some things we need to improve on. Against a team of that caliber you have to shoot the ball.
"You have to make your shots when you get them because they're so tall and so quick. Anytime we get a look we're going to have to capitalize and we made too many mistakes right there at the end."
Taking a 21-20 lead into the break on a last second 3-pointer by Greg Tucker, the Bluejays came out in the third quarter and quickly extended their advantage to four, hitting three of four free throws in the first minute of the half.
By the end of the frame, however, the Blue Devils had turned the tide, scoring the final seven points of the quarter to go up 43-36 heading into the fourth.
Though Charleston's Jamaul Gray opened the final frame with a steal and a layup to close his team back to within three, West Memphis started to pull away once again.
Following Gray's basket, the Blue Devils went on an 8-3 run to push ahead 51-43 on a shot by Willie Atwood with 2:27 to play.
Plagued by cold shooting in the final few minutes, the Bluejays trailed by as many as 10 in the final minutes before falling by the 58-50 final.
"We were coming up cold at the crucial times," Farmer said. "At those times we needed a bucket we couldn't get it and we missed free throws too at critical times.
Those are the things that we can correct and that's what we have to do. That's why we play these (early) games is to correct things like that. If we never played a team this caliber, we wouldn't even know how to correct it."
With 23 points on the contest, Tucker led Charleston, going 6 of 11 from the floor while adding a rebound and an assist. Both Gray and Aaron Cassell added nine points to the Bluejays' cause while Krushon Scott had seven.
On the night Charleston shot 16 of 41 while collecting 15 rebounds and seven steals.
For the Blue Devils, Latrell Cunningham had a game-high 25 points with Willie Atwood adding 17 points to West Memphis' cause.
"We played a lot better than we've been playing," Blue Devils' head coach coach Larry Bray said. "It was an aggressive game and I was real proud of the way we stepped up. We didn't back away from it, so I was real proud of that."
Charleston (50) -- Aaron Cassell 9, Ryan Parham 2, Greg Tucker 23, Jamaul Gray 9, Krushon Scott 7. FG 16, FT 10-14, F 22. (3-pointers: Tucker 4, Cassell 3, Gray 1. Fouled out: Parham.)
West Memphis (58) -- Willie Atwood 17, Latrell Cunningham 25, Chauncy Parker 4, Christian Carson 2, Julius Barton 7, Nicholas Sanders 3. FG 18, FT 19-22, F 15. (3-pointers: Cunningham 2, Sanders 1. Fouled out: none.)
Forced to fight back after a rough first quarter, the New Madrid County Central Eagles fell 68-47 to the North Little Rock, Ark. Wildcats on Saturday.
"The effort is there," NMCC head coach Travis Day said. "We're just turning the ball over way too much right now.
"We have a week off before the SEMO Conference Tournament and we just have to work on being able to run our offense and not give the ball away."
Getting a combined 13 points from Tyree's Hollister and Thomas Alexander in the frame, the Wildcats were able to build a 21-10 advantage heading in to the second quarter.
Though a NMCC was able to pull back to within eight points on a 6-0 run midway through the frame, North Little Rock scored six straight in the final two minutes of the half to go back up 33-19.
In opening up the second half with a 10-2 run, the Wildcats were able to build a lead the Eagles weren't able to come back from.
"In the spots when we ran our offense and didn't turn it over we gave ourself chances," Day said. "Right now we just have to get rid of the two to three minute spurts where we're turning it over and at the same time that we're turning it over, they're scoring. And that's hurting us right now."
Leading NMCC's effort was Darrin McGloson with 17 points, scoring 13 in the fourth quarter alone. Both Lamonte Nelson and C.J. Chism had eight points on the contest while Brandon Ray added five to the Eagle's cause.
For the Wildcats, Alexander had a game-high 23 and was followed by Cameron Houston, who had 16.
|N. Little Rock||21||12||17||15||-||68|
NMCC (47) -- Lemonte Nelson 8, JaShawn McDaniel 4, Gabe Smith 4, Brandon Ray 5, C.J. Chism 8, Darrin McGloson 17, Jamarri Jones 1. FG 19, FT 8-16, F 16. (3-pointers: Nelson 1. Fouled out: none.)
North Little Rock (68) -- DayShawn Watkins 1, Josh Laster 7, T.J. Francis 9, Tyree's Hollister 11, Thomas Alexander 23, Matt Terry 1, Cameron Houston 16. FG 28, FT 7-16, F 22. (3-pointers: Francis 2, Hollister 2, Laster 1. Fouled out: none.)
Opening up the final day of the Riverbend Classic on Saturday, the Scott County Central Braves fell 69-54 to the Pine Bluff, Ark. Zebras.
"We didn't have our best game," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "We came out and didn't run our offense to start the game and that kind of hurt us.
"We (also) kind of got stagnant in our offense. That started out a little bit of a problem, but I thought they came out and played hard. We just made some mental mistakes and some turnovers tonight that we didn't make last night that made a difference."
Trailing 37-22 to open up the second half, the Braves saw a 13-6 run by the Zebras push Scott Central's deficit to 20 just three minutes in to the third quarter.
Finishing the frame on an 11-5 run that included five points from Dominique Porter and four from Jaylen Porter, Scott Central was able to close back to within 14 points entering the final quarter of play.
Though the Braves close to with 13 points at 57-44 early in the frame, they were unable to dig cut any more out of Pine Bluff's double-digit lead before the end of regulation.
After being outscored by 15 points in the first two quarter by the Zebras, Scott Central held with Pine Bluff in the second half as both scored 32 points in the final two quarters.
"We kept it the same in the second half and played right with them," Wright said. "We gave them second chance opportunities and they hit three's off of them that hurt us. I think we gave up just a few too many second chance opportunities tonight.
"We missed some easy buckets there in the fourth that would have cut it even closer, but it's one of those things where you come down here to get better and I think our kids come down here and worked their tails off."
With 22 points on the game, Dominique Porter led the Braves while Jaylen Porter followed close behind with 20.
For the Zebras, Rickey Clements, Jr. had a team-high 21 while Darrian Kee and Quentin Williams had 16 and 15 respectively.
Pine Bluff (69) -- Rickey Clements, Jr. 21, Tyrone Payne 7, Roosevelt Murray, Jr. 2, Marcus Barnes 6, Darrian Kee 16, Ladarius Washington 2, Quentin Williams 15. FG 29, FT 4-10, F 12. (3-pointers: Clements, Jr. 5, Kee 2. Fouled out: none.)
Scott Central (54) -- Larandis Banks 4, Jaylen Porter 20, Antonio Johnson 2, Dominique Porter 22, LaMarcus Steward 6. FG 22, FT 10-14, F 11. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)