The good things, like winning the Oran Invitational Tournament for the fifth straight time, didn't outweigh the bad.
The Scott County Central Braves lost 59-49 to Oak Ridge giving them their first loss to a Class 1 school since 2008. They were also blown out by Oran 77-47 during the seMissourian Christmas Tournament that sent the Braves home packing without playing on the final day. Oran's win also snapped a 24-game winning streak owned by the Braves dating back to 2003.
Needless to say, Scott Central is looking forward to 2013 and they managed to start it off the right way.
The Braves knocked off the visiting East Prairie Eagles 98-61 at Scott Central High School Tuesday during their first game of the new year.
The Braves had five players in double figures. Jaylen Porter led the Braves with 31 points. Tyler Masters added 20 while Kendall Blissett and Cameron Blissett chipped in with 14 and 11 respectively. Jeffery Porter scored 10.
"We had a rough start to the year, but we're beyond that and looking past that," Scott Central head coach Frank Staple said. "We're trying to preach just play hard. We need to get a lot off of our turnovers and create a lot when we're running down the floor.
"Hopefully, we'll fair a little better in 2013."
The Braves' rocky start might have been a blessing in disguise for a team that has won the last four Class 1 state championships. Losing to teams that they haven't lost to in years has given them an extra motivator.
"We took everybody's best punch," Staple said. "We had a lot of guys that just had to learn to play on this level. After the Christmas tournament and a tough loss to Oran, we're starting to come together and kind of see what it takes."
The Braves got rolling early but not without a small rally within the early minutes from East Prairie.
Scott Central, who never trailed, bounced out to an 11-3 lead but outside shooting from East Prairie kept the Eagles within 1-point in the first three minutes of the game.
East Prairie's Seth Johnson scored nine of the Eagles' fist 12 points all on 3-pointers. Seth Bays added a fourth 3-pointer.
In the first three minutes of the game the Eagles hit four of the first five 3-point shots to get as close as 13-12.
"That's new for us," East Prairie head coach Casey Knight said about their outside shooting. "We haven't had that here in the last four years. It's definitely something to build on. Our guard play is getting better."
It didn't take long for the Braves to cut down East Prairie's shooting, however, after establishing their presence on the defensive end.
Scott Central (7-7) added a few wrinkles to their defensive press over the winter break wanting to move up-court to trap ball handlers, put more pressure up top and cut down on offenses leaking out into the back of their press.
"We made a few tweaks to try and get more going up top," said Staple. "We haven't been getting enough pressure up top and people have just been destroying us in the back. Hopefully, this will turn into some baskets and let us get up and down the floor a little more so we can do what we want to do."
After their defense caught on, the Braves rolled to a 39-23 lead after coercing the Eagles into 10 first quarter turnovers. Scott Central had runs of 14-2 and 12-3 in the first seven minutes to pull ahead.
Scott Central kept pouring it on in the second quarter, pushing East Prairie into eight turnovers and a 61-37 halftime lead.
"We're a young team," Knight said. "We've got six sophomores and two juniors that play most of the time and basically freshman on the bench. Every time you play Scott Central they're going to bring the intensity and they'll have that the whole game.
"Right now, we've got good things sprinkled throughout the whole game, but we're not able to maintain that for a full four quarters. Eventually, it got to us."
Outscoring the Eagles 27-13 in the third, Scott Central had the game well in hand to start the second half as they began to make substitutions and let the mercy clock run until the final buzzer.
Bays led the Eagles with 20 points including three 3-pointers. Johnson, who knocked down four 3-pointers, ended the night with 14 points.
EAST PRAIRIE (61) -- Seth Johnson 14, Seth Bays 20, Mason Douglas 6, Mack Marcum 3, Boyd Thompson 8, Damion Tipler 8. FG 21 FT 10-18 F 13. (3-pointers: Johnson 4, Bays 3, Marcum 1, Boyd 1. Fouled out: none.)
SCC (98) -- Jaylen Porter 31, James McClinton 3, Alex Johnson 6, Tyler Masters 20, Kendall Blissett 14, Jerry Harrington 2, Jeffery Porter 10, Cameron Blissett 11, Tyreek Williams 1. FG 43 FT 10-13 F 19. (3-pointers: Ja. Porter 1, McClinton 1. Fouled out: none.)