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Charleston overpowers Tigers for 75-60 win

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Photo)
Charleston senior Greg Tucker slices his way toward the rim as Caruthersville's Jamal Johnson defends against him. Chris Pobst, Staff
CHARLESTON -- Charleston's Jamaul Gray didn't care who was standing under the rim, he skied above Caruthersville to digest rebound after rebound.

Gray displayed yet just another area in which the Bluejays totally command their opposition.

The 6-1 senior hauled in 14 rebounds, sometimes out-leaping Caruthersville's sophomore sensation Darrell Monroe, in Charleston's 75-60 win at Charleston High School on Friday night.

"Most of the time, I know where the ball is going to roll off," Gray said about his rebounding tactics. "I just got it in me that I wanted to rebound. That's my job -- to rebound and put it back in."

Gray's rebounding prowess was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the Bluejays' operating in factory-like way in all facets of the game.

Charleston shot an unconscious 11 of 15 from 3-point range which was paced by the hot hand of Aaron Cassell who nailed six from downtown to finish with 20 points.

Senior scoring leader Greg Tucker ended up with 20 points as well and the Charleston defense held down all but Monroe with their tenacious ways.

"It's been the same thing for us every game and we don't hide what we're going to do," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said. "We know when we step out on the court that we're going to play defense all the time and we're going to see whose not tired at the end of the game. We feel we have the depth to do that."

Monroe led all scorers with 31 points showing just how dominate the 6-2 athletic specimen can be. Unfortunately for the Tigers (10-4), who have four players who average over at least 10 points per game, no other player reached double figures.

"We just have to get some of our kids to step up," Caruthersville head coach David Heeb said. "Monroe, he's Superman, but he can't do it by himself. We've got to have a second or third guy start to score and rebound. That's the difference between us and (Charleston)."

The Bluejays (17-1) had a grand shooting night hitting 51 percent (27 of 52) from the floor, including their 73 percent from behind the arc.

"When they shoot it like that, you're not going to beat them," said Heeb. "With the way they guard, good luck."

Charleston didn't particularly start out as hot as they finished. They missed their first six shots until finally, Cassell, who is Charleston's second leading scorer, hit the first of his barrage of 3-pointers to kick-start the Bluejays into a 9-5 run.

Cassell was 6 of 9 from 3-point land.

"Cassell is a kid who probably doesn't get enough credit," Heeb said. "He's a heck of a player. I thought we did a pretty good job on Tucker, but we just let Cassell go nuts."

From there, Charleston cranked out a 9-4 run to end the first quarter and go ahead 18-12.

The Bluejays opened the second frame with seven unanswered points to put them up by 13. Charleston led 40-28 after the first half where they shot 45 percent (16 of 35) from the field. Caruthersville was held to 12 of 36 shooting (33 percent).

"They came in very as a very athletic, quick team, but we played our normal game," Farmer said. "We put some pressure on them to make them think a little bit. Like always we had someone step up. Cassell had a super game, Jamaul really rebounded well and Greg did what's normal."

Opening the third quarter with an 18-4 run, Charleston went up by as much as 26 points. Tucker scored 13 points in the third to help give the Bluejays a 64-44 lead going into the fourth.

Charleston was a cool 64 percent from the field in the second half which included six 3-pointers.

"We played determined," Gray said. "Before we came out, we knew what we had to do. We got it right, played smart and didn't let up."

Caruthersville12161616--60
Charleston18222411--75

CARUTHERSVILLE (60) -- Jamal Johnson 5, Steve Rodgers 3, Elbie Fonda 4, Jeremy Grant 4, Tyler Cobb 2, Tyler Grissom 2, Darrell Monroe 31, Belton McWilliams 9. FG 25 FT 9-11 F 15 (3-pointers: Rodgers 1. Fouled out: none.)

CHARLESTON (75) -- Aaron Cassell 20, Ryan Parham 4, Michael Hull 8, Trey Watkins 5, Greg Tucker 20, Jamaul Gray 7, Krushon Scott 9, Darrion Carter 2. FG 27 FT 10-11 F 14 (3-pointers: Cassell 6, Hull 2, Tucker 2, Gray 1. Fouled out: none.)