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SCC uses talk of Risco upset as motivation in sectional

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Scott County Central's LaMarcus Steward puts up a shot against Risco in a Class 1 sectional game on Tuesday at the Bearcat Event Center in Dexter. David Jenkins, Staff
DEXTER -- Dominique Porter and the rest of the Scott County Central Braves needed to make something known.

Despite their record, their lack of customary blowout games throughout the season and former players that have moved on, the Braves are still the Class 1 team to beat.

And they don't need anyone telling them differently.

"Winning districts, we had to prove that we still are that team that's going to go to the state championship," Porter said. "Plus, we had chip on our shoulder from Risco saying stuff. But, we just went in there with a clear mind and did what we had to do."

Tuesday night's dominance over the Risco Tigers, who are possibly the closest Class 1 team Scott County Central has come across to challenge them in the past few years, was proof that they too browse the internet and hear the chatter among basketball fans.

"That's motivation," said Porter, who scored a game high 43 points. "We just use that to push us harder. If they want to say things, we'll let them. It just makes us go even harder than we were before."

They took what they heard and what they saw about Risco possibly upsetting the three time defending champions and turned it into a 100-76 sectional win.

"I think that everybody they talked to was in their ear, 'Risco's coming for you, They're coming for you.'" Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "They kept hearing that over and over and I think it motivated them some."

"There was a lot to prove," Scott Central senior LaMarcus Steward added. "They said they could run with us and all that, but we knew deep down inside we can outrun anybody. I can honestly say that we tell coach to keep running us so we can stay in shape."

The Braves certainly came out of the gates with the sense of proving themselves.

Steward, who finished with 25 points, scored eight first quarter points as he helped his Braves obtain a 22-13 lead at the end of one.

Scott Central's lead swelled to 15 at the half behind a tenacity on defense that pushed the Tigers into 14 turnovers. They used their quickness to get around defenders and beat Risco to rebounds and loose balls -- an area where some had said the Tigers could match the Braves.

"Everything is out there. They read everything that's out there," Wright said. "It definitely helps them in a sense of getting them prepared mentally. But, they've got to get their minds focused on it to begin with, whether that stuff is in the mix or not."

They put the game out of reach at the end of the third quarter up 75-52 as Porter continued to abuse the baseline for layups around the rim and Steward drove towards the basket for countless pull up jumpers.

Although his players may have played with chips on their shoulders, Wright offered a different insight.

"At this time of the year, the kids have to have the right mentality," Wright said. "It's not about a chip on your shoulder or a crazy speech -- I don't think it's about that. It's about the kids understanding that if they want to win, they have to prove themselves in practice, get a game plan down and make it work.

"They did a good job of making it work tonight."

In years past, A Scott Central team with double digit loses staining their record wasn't thought of as much as a championship caliber team. Not only do they want to prove they are still the Class 1 team to beat to others, they also have something to prove to themselves.

"We had to fall to work on the things that we needed to work on," Porter said. "We had to fall on our face to move ahead."

"I put these guys through the ringer all season. I wanted them to go through the ringer," added Wright. "I wanted them to see what it was like to play the Maplewood's, the Kennett's, Charleston's, Notre Dame's and Cape Central's -- good basketball. I do not care to lose a ball game. If we go out there and work a game plan and we get beat, we get beat.

"They've had their ups and downs. This is the time of year where they have to step forward and all the stuff they've been through means nothing."

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