NEW MADRID -- The New Madrid County Central Eagles, a team that is searching for consistency, dropped a home game on Friday against SEMO Conference foe Cape Central, 59-47.
Cape Central has had its troubles at NMCC's home gymnasium in recent years, but the Tigers' tall front-court tandem of 6-foot-6 T.J. Tisdell and 6-5 sophomore Jamal Cox proved to be too tough to stop for the Eagles.
Tisdell and Cox combined for 31 points as the Eagles had trouble matching up with the post duo.
"They're good inside," NMCC coach Travis Day said. "I think sometimes we relaxed inside and gave them post position. They're the type of guys that if you give them spots, they're going to be able to score there."
NMCC (4-9, 1-2 SEMO) held the early lead at 8-7 in the first quarter, but the Tigers got two baskets from Cox to reclaim the lead by the end of the quarter -- a lead they would not lose the rest of the night.
"It's tough to win here," Cape Central coach Drew Church said. "I think in six years this is the first time we've won here. I'm pleased with our performance. They're very physical. They've got two or three new kids that they didn't have the last time I saw them. They're a physical team and they really get out and guard you."
Cape Central (11-4, 1-0) led 11-9 after one quarter and was able to extend the lead to 23-16 by halftime.
The Tigers were able to control the paint on offense, but also their length and size were a problem for the Eagles' offensive players.
"We missed a lot of layups and that's our problem right now," Day said. "We'll miss two or three layups in a row and next thing you know we're down six. Then we miss a couple more layups and we're down 10. We've just got to put the ball in the hole right now. The more times you can put the ball in the hole, the better you can set up your defense."
Cape Central continued to extend the lead in the third quarter, opening up a double-digit advantage that was capped off by a one-handed jam by Cox to lead 38-26 at the end of the period.
The Eagles put together a furious 3-point attack in the fourth quarter, draining four from beyond the arc, but the Tigers were able to sink enough free throws, making 11-of-18, to keep them at bay.
NMCC got as close as seven points at three different junctures in the fourth quarter, but they would get no closer.
"We've got to get better at mixing things up, getting after it, and just playing smart," Day said. "We stood behind them and when they made moves we weren't able to stop them. Our pressure was good in spots. When we pressured them as a team, they struggled, but other times we'd put pressure on them and one person relaxes and they would usually score on us. We'll just get back to the drawing board and keep coming after people."
Tisdell led the Tigers with 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Cox had 11 points. Tim Booker and Garan Evans each had 10.
"Obviously their gameplan was to be physical with (Tisdell and Cox) and then quickly double them," Church said. "Towards the second half a little bit we finally figured out that we could pivot on that and hit some people cutting to the basket. It's not something we haven't seen all year, but every time we get to see it the kids get a little better feel for it."
NMCC was led by Lamonte Nelson's 13 points, including three 3-pointers. JaShawn McDaniel followed up with eight points.
NMCC will host district foe Twin Rivers on Tuesday.
Cape Central defeated NMCC in the junior varsity contest 43-36. Willie Jimmerson led the NMCC JV with 14 points.
CAPE CENTRAL (59) -- T.J. Tisdell 20, Jamal Cox 11, Tim Booker 10, Garan Evans 10, Ross McClanahan 4, Vance Toole 3, Devon Johnson 1. FG 20, FT 13-23, F 10. (3-pointers: Booker 2. Fouled out: none).
NMCC (47) -- Lamonte Nelson 13, JaShawn McDaniel 8, Chilis Johnson 6, Willie Jimmerson 5, Darin McGlossan 5, Armondo Thatch 4, C.J. Chism 4, Earl Grissom 2. FG 12, FT 5-7, F 17. (3-pointers: Nelson 3, McDaniel 2, Jimmerson 1. Fouled out: none).