(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Led by a 23-point effort from Ryan Brock, third-seeded Scott City opened up the Scott-Mississippi Conference Tournament on Monday with a 69-35 win over sixth-seeded East Prairie.
"There was times we played really well," Rams head coach Mark Dannenmueller said. "When we got a big lead we relaxed a little bit, but I guess sometimes that's typical.
"Our effort level was good."
Scott City came out of the gate with plenty of missed shots in the first few minutes, but controlled the boards allowing for multiple second and third chance opportunities.
After playing to a 2-2 draw through the first three minutes of the game, the Rams started to heat up scoring 15-straight points to take control of the game.
Jonathan McFall and Jesse Sanders provided three buckets each during the run and by the end of the first quarter Scott City held a comfortable 21-6 lead.
McFall provided another eight points in the second frame while Brock pitched in six to help the Rams continue adding to their lead.
Entering the locker room at the half, Scott City owned a 22-point advantage at 43-21.
"We've been emphasizing for the kids to crash the boards," Dannenmueller said of his team's first half success. "I thought we did a good job of trying to pick up people when they missed shots. It would have been nice if we could have made the first one, but we crashed the boards and were able to get some second chances."
With Brock scoring another 11 points Scott City continued to pull away in the third quarter, scoring 13-straight points to start the half.
East Prairie had one of their more successful periods late in the third, matching the Rams through a two minute streak before Dustin Bryars sunk a 3-point attempt to close their deficit to 29-points with 38 seconds left in the frame.
Just when it looked like East Prairie was going to avoid a turbo-clocked fourth, however, a basket by Sanders at the buzzer allowed the Rams to take a 31-point lead, at 64-33, into the final frame.
Scott City came out and got a quick jumper from Ryan Fortner to start a 6-0 run that ensured the clock kept rolling all the way through the final quarter.
Leading the Rams (10-7), Brock scored all 23 of his points in the first three quarters while going 9 of 9 from the free throw line.
McFall was second on the team with all 17 of his points coming in the first half while Sanders added 14 points to Scott City's effort.
For East Prairie (2-12), Damion Tipler and Seth Bays finished with 14 and 10 points respectively.
After an encouraging start to the new year, Eagles' head coach Casey Knight was frustrated his squad wasn't more competitive against the Rams.
"We didn't show up from the tip," he said. "It actually surprised me because we've been taking a lot of tremendous steps forward. We're young and you can only say you're young for so long.
"You start to judge your season when you're that young on other things. Since Christmas we've got a couple wins and played Bloomfield and Clarkton in tight ball games. We've made steps in the right direction. For some reason tonight we didn't have it from the get-go."
Scott City moves on to play the winner of Scott Central/Delta in the tournament semifinals Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at Scott Central High School.
The final two games of the opening round will take place tonight with fourth-seeded Chaffee playing fifth-seeded Kelly at 6:30 p.m.
Second-seeded Scott Central will play seventh-seeded Delta at 8 p.m. while top-seeded Oran gets a bye.
Though they came into the tournament the three-seed, the Rams will have one advantage that most of the field doesn't. With their opening round game being on Monday, as opposed to Tuesday, Scott City gets an extra day of rest as opposed to playing three games in four days.
"It's really nice not having to play (three games in four days)," Dannenmueller said. "We're going to have our hands full on Thursday so we're going to use these two days to do our best to prepare for whoever we play next."
EAST PRAIRIE (35) -- Seth Bays 10, Dustin Bryars 5, Mason Douglas 2, Mack Marcum 4, Damion Tipler 14. FG 14, FT 4-5, F 21. (3-pointers: Bays 1, Bryars 1, Tipler 1. Fouled out: Douglas, Marcum.)
SCOTT CITY (69) -- Eric Urhahn 2, Trent Pobst 4, Jesse Sanders 14, Jonathan McFall 17, Dominic Hooper 1, Ryan Fortner 8, Ryan Brock 23. FG 26, FT 17-27, F 10. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)