NEW MADRID -- For the last four years the Scott County Central Braves have lost their first game of the season.
Their latest, a 99-57 drubbing by North Little Rock, Ark., who looks poised to hoist a trophy in March for our neighbor to the south.
The Braves were simply out-manned by the Charging Wildcats as Division I recruit Thomas Alexander scored a game-high 31 points and 11 other North Little Rock players scored -- four had 10 or more -- during the first day of the Riverbend Classic at New Madrid County Central High School.
"North Little Rock is a very good team," first-year head coach Frank Staples said. "It showed us just how far we have to go."
It's the second time the Braves have lost to North Little Rock during their stint in the Riverbend Classic, which started during the 2007-08 season.
The Wildcats' 99 points are also the most points given up by Scott Central since Charleston scored the same against them during the regular season a year ago.
"It's the little things this year that are going to decide whether we win or how good we are," said Staples. "We were just kind of like deer in the headlights."
The Braves found themselves scrambling early as first game mistakes coupled with North Little Rock's superiority created a tough start.
The Wildcats scored 26 points, by eight different players, in the first quarter to go ahead 26-17.
Larandis Banks, who led the Braves with 21 points, scored nine in the first while Tyler Masters added the other eight around the rim.
Alexander and his Wildcats continued to be too much as he scored 16-second quarter points (20 in the first half) to give his team a comfy 54-35 lead at the half.
North Little Rock put on an athletic display in the third quarter as dunk after dunk continued to fall.
Scott Central fell behind by 37 points after three quarters were played, signaling the running clock for the fourth quarter.
Kevaugh Allen, Ronald McCuin and Nicholas Scott each had 10 points for North Little Rock.
Masters and Jaylen Porter, who nailed four 3-pointers, both had 16 points for the Braves.
"We've got to improve," Staples said. "Tonight wasn't a lot of fun, but it's the first game of the season. All we can do is go back to the drawing board and get better."
|N. Little Rock||26||28||33||12||--||99|
NORTH LITTLE ROCK (99) -- Kevaugh Allen 10, Ronald McCuien 10, Jawan Eldridge 7, DayShawn Watkins 8, Robert Verges 6, Thomas Alexander 31, Derrick Holloway 6, Khalil Hill 4, Camron Hooks 2, Nicholas Scott 10, Matthew Terry 5. FG 42 FT 7-13 F 13 (3-pointers: McCuien 1, Eldridge 1, Watkins 1, Alexander 3. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CENTRAL (57) -- Chris Brown 2, Larandis Banks 21, Tyler Masters 16, Jaylen Porter 16, Jeffrey Porter 2. FG 23 FT 4-12 F 9 (3-pointers: Banks 3, Jaylen Porter 4. Fouled out: none.)
The Kennett Indians fell in their season opener as well, 74-53 to the West Memphis Blue Devils at the Riverbend Classic.
Marcus Nesby led the Devils with 20 points.
Kennett's Kevonte Mitchell led his team with 20.
WEST MEMPHIS (74) - Dedrick Brown 4, Kelvin Mooney 12, Fabian Logan 9, Glen Burns 12, Marcus Nesby 20, Dannie Gatewood 1, Vakemeyus Davis 9, Alexander Davis 7. FG 29 FT 12-20 F 15 (3-pointers: Mooney 1, V. Davis 3. Fouled out: none)
KENNETT (53) - Antavies Drake 8, Cameron Harper 2, Akeem Nelson 2, Jay Edgington 3, Collin Smith 2, Kevonte Mitchell 20, Harold Weeden 8, Materion Jones 6, Divante Taylor 2. FG 20 FT 10-16 F 17. (3-pointers: Weeden 2. Edgington 1. Fouled out: none)