(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD -- Even with leading scorer, Greg Tucker, sitting on the bench in street clothes, the top-seeded Charleston Bluejays had little trouble advancing to the semifinals of the Class 3, District 1 Tournament.
While letting Tucker spend a few extra day resting a nagging thigh injury, the Bluejays opened up the quarterfinals on Monday with a 80-40 win over eighth-seeded Twin Rivers.
"What we're trying to do is just become more consistent and try to keep it at a higher level," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said of his team's performance. "Because we're in the postseason right now. We won by 40, but it's hard to gauge how well we played in this type of game.
"I wanted to make sure I keep them playing hard and not take it easy or pick up any bad habits."
After building a 10-point lead with five minutes to play in the first half, the Bluejays offense caught fire as they ended the second quarter on a 21-8 run in the final four minutes before intermission.
Leading the charge was Ryan Parham and Aaron Cassell, who scored 11 and seven points respectively in the second frame.
"We need to start finding our rhythm a lot earlier than the second quarter," Farmer said. "We don't need to toy around until the second quarter. Those are the things we're trying to work on."
After the break Charleston got a pair of 3-pointers from Trey Watkins in the first two minutes of the second half to kickstart a 16-10 run in the third that pushed the Bluejays ahead 68-39 entering the final frame.
Charleston kicked in the running clock just a minute into the fourth thanks to a steal by Robert Bogan, followed by an open layup. In holding the Royals to a single points in the frame, the Bluejays sealed their trip to the tournament semifinals.
On holding the Royals to only 11 second half points, Farmer credited his team's man-to-man press with wearing out Twin Rivers by the fourth quarter.
"The other team was exhausted," he said. "They'd been playing at that pace for such a long time I could see they were exhausted."
Scoring 12 points in the first quarter alone, Michael Hull led Charleston with 17 points on the contest while Parham was close behind with 15.
For Twin Rivers, Michael Snider had 17 points, to tie Hull for the game-high, with Eric Ray adding 12 to the Royals' cause.
CHARLESTON (80) -- Delfincko Bogan 3, Aaron Cassell 7, Robert Bogan 2, Ryan Parham 15, Michael Hull 17, Trey Watkins 6, Jamaul Gray 5, Maurice Moore 4, Sumner Foster 6, Shandor Webster 4, Will Davis 3, Darrion Carter 8. FG 31, FT 10-14, F 17. (3-pointers: Delfincko Bogan 1, Cassell 1, Parham 1, Hull 2, Watkins 2, Gray 1. Fouled out: none.)
TWIN RIVERS (40) -- Chris Morse 1, Aaron Welty 1, Michael Snider 17, Wes McCollum 3, Nate Ezernack 2, Eric Ray 12, Cade Lowe 2, Seth Snider 2. FG 15, FT 8-13, F 14. (3-pointers: Michael Snider 1, McCollum 1. Fouled out: none.)
BLOOMFIELD -- Advancing to the semifinals, the second-seeded Kennett Indians defeated the seventh-seeded Bloomfield Wildcats 48-35 on Monday.
Trailing by 16 points entering the fourth quarter, Bloomfield gave the Indians a scare when a Logan Cowart 3-pointer closed the Wildcats to within 10, 40-30, with 4:54 to play.
Though the Wildcats were never able to close any further in on Kennett, Caleb Baker hit one final 3-pointer for the Bloomfield to make it 43-33 at the 2:43 mark.
Preventing an upset, the Indians closed out the game on a 5-2 run.
KENNETT (48) -- Antavies Drake 9, James Edgington 5, Kevonte Mitchell 10, Adam Grantham 9, Antonia Primer 8, Jajuan Wallace 4, Divante Taylor 2. FG 19, FT 7-9, F 12. (3-pointers: Drake 1, Edgington 1. Fouled out: none.)
BLOOMFIELD (35) -- Caleb Baker 3, Brett Ruch 6, Austin Williamson 4, Logan Cowart 3, Thomas Sanders 4, Zach Pounds 2, Adam Vandiver 5, Austin Cooper 6, Thomas Forkum 2. FG 14, FT 4-8, F 15. (3-pointers: Baker 1, Cowart 1, Cooper 1. Fouled out: none.)