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Jays use shooting, defense to best NMCC

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Charleston senior Jamaul Gray dribbles around NMCC senior Lamonte Nelson on Tuesday at New Madrid County Central High School. Chris Pobst, Staff
NEW MADRID -- Whether its by superb shooting or downright frustrating defense, the Charleston Bluejays continue to show they can beat teams by any means necessary.

On Tuesday night, the Bluejays took advantage of the charity stripe, lighting up the free throw line with a superb 21 of 22 performance against the New Madrid County Central Eagles.

Greg Tucker led the Bluejays with 24 points as Charleston (13-1) rolled to a 78-53 win at New Madrid County Central High School.

"This group that Charleston has knows how to make you pay," NMCC head coach Travis Day said. "They do it with shots or the free throw line."

Taking an 18-13 lead with them into the second quarter, the Bluejays began to distance themselves even further by way of the free throw line and Tucker.

With NMCC racking up the fouls, Charleston went 12 of 12 from the line during the second quarter and 18 of 19 in the first half alone.

Which was a good thing for the Bluejays, who were shooting 39 percent (11 of 28) from the field in the first half.

Tucker dropped 15 of his game-high 24 in the second quarter. The senior sank eight free throws in the frame as well as a 3-pointer.

"They feed off of him," Day said about Tucker. "He got to knocking down shots and free throws. Once he did that, their defense got better."

In his last two games, Tucker has hit 22-straight free throws.

"He can kill you in a million ways," said Farmer. "That's why he gets so many points because he hits his free throws. He can do a lot of different things."

The Bluejays led 41-26 at halftime.

Both teams didn't particularly shoot the ball well. Charleston was 24 of 55 (43 percent) while NMCC was held to 39 percent (23 of 58), which made Charleston's free throws that much more crucial.

"That was the key," Farmer said about making free throws. "If they were going to play aggressive and foul, then we'd have to make them pay by making our free throws."

NMCC (4-8), who have been improving as of late, fell back in to their inconsistent ways according to Day.

"We're not putting full games together," Day said. "We had a decent first half where we were in the game. We just have to try and put four quarters together."

One of their bright spots, however, came in the form of Chilis Johnson, who scored 14 points for the Eagles. Both Johnson and Armondo Thatch played in their first games this season after sitting out the first half of the year.

"Around the basket is where Johnson is going to have to score for us," Day said. "We've got to get him going. These are their first games of the year and we didn't expect much out of them right now, but we'll get them going."

Charleston continued to build their lead as they knocked down five of their six 3-pointers in the second half. They went up by as much as 27 points in the third quarter when Krushon Scott made a layup to give his Bluejays a 66-39 advantage.

Michael Hull hit three 3-pointers during the last two quarters, which helped give him a game total of 16 points.

"Defensively, I'm really pleased with our team right now," Farmer said. "I think this is one of the best defensive teams I've had in a long time. Offensively, we're a little inconsistent. But, maybe I'm expecting too much.

"I like to see everybody hitting on the same night," a grinning Farmer added. "But, I guess I won't be pleased until I see a lot of that."

The Charleston Bluejay junior varsity squad also pulled out a win on Tuesday defeated NMCC 52-43.

Charleston climbed out of a 10-point hole in the third quarter to hand the Eagles the loss.

Charleston will host Scott County Central on Friday while NMCC will take on Cape Central on Friday as well at New Madrid County Central High School.


CHARLESTON (78) -- Aaron Cassell 9, Ryan Parham 11, Michael Hull 16, Trey Watkins 3, Greg Tucker 24, Jamaul Gray 6, Krushon Scott 9. FG 20 FT 21-22 F 11 (3-pointers: Cassell 1, Hull 3, Tucker 2. Fouled out: none.)

NMCC (53) -- Earl Grissom 8, Lamonte Nelson 3, Willie Jimmerson 4, JaShawn McDaniel 5, Brandon Ray 6, CJ Chism 6, Armondo Thatch 5, Chilis Johnson 14, Darin McGlosson 2. FG 24 FT 4-11 F 16 (3-pointers: McDaniel 1. Fouled out: none.)