(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
PORTAGEVILLE -- With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the Charleston Bluejays are showing no signs of slowing down.
Shooting 64 percent from the floor and led by a game-high 24 points from Greg Tucker, Charleston picked up its 21st straight win on Friday with a 90-43 rout over Portageville.
"The score is not an indication of how good that team is," Charleston coach Danny Farmer said of the Bulldogs. "Portageville is not a bad team, we're just hitting on all cylinders.
"The way we see it, this is the postseason and that's what we want to see out of our team. We need to play like that every night, especially having Cape Central coming up on Tuesday."
Unable to keep up with the Bluejays' speed, Portageville watched the Bluejays open up on a 13-4 run, led by six points from Jamaul Gray. Finishing the quarter with eight points, Gray helped Charleston enter the second quarter with a 26-11 advantage.
Helping the Bluejays (22-1) cause, Portageville (16-4) missed nine of their first 10 shots in the final eight minutes of the half, allowing the Bluejays to open up on a 7-2 run.
Though Portageville hit a few scattered shots to stay in the game, the Bluejays scored eight of the quarter's final 10 points to enter the locker room up 45-21.
"The only gripe I would have is offensively we didn't take good shots at times," Portageville coach Jason Irby said. "I think we got caught up in the emotions and tempo of the game. That wasn't part of our game plan, but in our kids defense Charleston is so good they put you in those situations."
After only scoring six first half points, Tucker came alive to in the third quarter to fuel a 32-point surge by the Bluejays. Scoring 15 points in the first four minutes of the half, Tucker finished the third frame with 18 as Charleston entered the fourth with a commanding 77-34 lead.
"Greg is like that," Farmer said Tucker's run. "He's the type of player that once he gets going he can take over the game.
"He showed some of that tonight too and I had wanted to see that come out tonight also."
Tucker finished the game shooting 9 of 14 for 24 points with two rebounds and two assists.
Hitting four of the Bluejays nine 3-pointers on the night, Michael Hull had 17 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals. Hull was 6 of 8 shooting overall while going 4 of 6 from behind the arc.
Darrion Carter and Robert Bogan added 11 and 10 points respectively while Ryan Parham finished with five points, nine assist and three steals.
As a team the Bluejays shot 36 of 56 from the floor, going 27 of 38 inside the arc (71 percent) while out rebounding the Bulldogs 32-24.
"This one here we earned it because we played well," Farmer said. "Everybody played well tonight. I was really thrilled with our effort tonight from everybody. That's what I wanted to see."
For Portageville, who was celebrating senior night, Dion Foster and Dominique Walker had 11 points each with Zack Birdwell added five to the Bulldogs cause.
"I was really proud of our kids effort," Irby said. "We played harder tonight than we have played in awhile. We were just playing the wrong team.
"They're so good and shot lights out in the second half. We just didn't have an answer for them."
Earlier in the night in jayvee action, Charleston scored 33 points in the first quarter before holding on for a 84-34 win.
Delfincko Bogan led the Bluejays with 19 points while Michael Kellum added 17 to the cause. For the Bulldogs, Derrick Priggel and Kynan Mosby had 10 and eight points respectively.
CHARLESTON (90) -- Aaron Cassell 3, Robert Bogan 10, Ryan Parham 5, Michael Hull 17, Greg Tucker 24, Jamaul Gray 8, Sumner Foster 6, Krushon Scott 6, Darrion Carter 11. FG 36, FT 9-14, F 14. (3-pointers: Cassell 1, Bogan 1, Hull 4, Tucker 3. Fouled out: none.)
PORTAGEVILLE (43) -- Jansen Darst 3, Dion Foster 11, Dominique Walker 11, Zack Birdwell 5, Denzell Simmons 3, Cody Carpenter 2, Eric Simmons 4, Daniel Allen 4. FG 18, FT 4-11, F 15. (3-pointers: Foster 3. Fouled out: none.)