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Column: Oak Ridge ends SCC's win streak against Class 1 teamsPosted Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at 12:20 AM
It was the kind of run you expect to see in a Scott County Central game.
Eleven points were scored in 77 seconds. There were a couple free throws made, a successful three-point play after a player was fouled making a tough layup, a couple transition layups made possible by forced turnovers and then a couple more free throws.
As usual, when the run was all over, the game felt over, too.
What was highly unusual was that it was the Braves' opponent making the run.
Oak Ridge extended its lead to 55-39 late in the fourth quarter after that outburst, and all that kept running through my brain were some John Mayer lyrics.
Seriously. I couldn't make it stop. The same words just kept playing over and over again. I even tried writing them down in hopes that it would help banish the tune.
"I am invincible. I am invincible. I am invincible," the line starts.
"As long as I'm alive."
SCC was invincible against Class 1 teams when Tuesday's game started.
As long as it kept winning -- and it had since a two-point loss to Class 1 Jefferson in a 2008 state semifinal.
The Blue Jays didn't end SCC's chance to win a fifth consecutive Class 1 state championship with their eventual 59-49 victory, but they did put an end to the invincibility.
"We only have two or three guys who have been at this level before who know what it's like to get everybody's best shot," first-year SCC coach and longtime assistant Frank Staple said. "You can't come out and not be ready to play."
Oak Ridge jumped out to a 10-2 lead, which was a radically different start than the one it experienced to start last season's district championship loss to the Braves when it fell behind 15-2.
Oak Ridge players told me they'd been looking forward to their next game against SCC ever since that night, and they played like it. They've also been looking forward to proving some people wrong since they were seeded 11th in the upcoming Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.
"I wanted to prove something to every coach that seeded us below Chaffee or any team that we should be above," Oak Ridge's Ryan Below said. "It proves that we're a better team than people give us, and we showed it tonight."
Oak Ridge coach Adam Stoneking attributed the lack of respect to a disappointing showing against Scott City in loss at the Woodland Tournament.
"We are better than what people think we are," Stoneking said. "That's just been my opinion the whole time. This is a really good basketball team. They've always been successful since little bitty kids. We had one bad game, and I think a lot of people wrote us off."
I asked Staple to characterize his team at this point in the season.
"I wish I could answer that," he said. "Right now we're kind of
Jekyll-and-Hyde. We still have to find our identity and just learn how to be consistent. We knew this was going to be a tough game tonight, and they came ready to play and we just didn't. And we have to learn how to come ready to play every game."
SCC senior Jaylen Porter left the game for a brief time after being kneed in the back of the head and later blacked out in the locker room after the game.
An ambulance was called to take Porter to the hospital for tests with what Staple labeled concussion-like symptoms.
Another Porter, a freshman named Jeffery, played exclusively with the varsity on Tuesday after spending time with the JV earlier this season. You may have heard of his brother, Otto.
It's too soon to make any comparisons between Jeffery and his superstar big brother, but it wasn't hard to see that he already makes the Braves better when he's on the floor.
I'm certain I'll be writing about him much more in the future, but not tonight.
Tonight was about Below and his teammates like senior Hunter Seyer, whose three first quarter 3-pointers helped Oak Ridge build a lead it never gave up on its way to doing what no Class 1 team had done in years.
"This has got to be No. 1 because you always hear our parents, 'We had that chance to beat Scott County back when I was in school,' Seyer said, ranking Tuesday night's win as the greatest in his basketball career. "Well, we finally got that chance, and we actually did it. The feeling's just amazing right now."
Rachel Crader is editor of semoball.com.
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Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2009 before spending the summer covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Highlights from Rachel's days in college include having a class down the hall from Chase Daniel and having NCAA wrestling champion Ben Askren hold the door open for her at Brady Commons, Mizzou's student center. She spent time covering Mizzou basketball, softball and baseball while working for the Columbia Missourian and is excited to return home to Southeast Missouri to cover local sports for semoball.com.
Rachel has covered three Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournaments for the Southeast Missourian and semoball.com, and she'll see you courtside again this year.
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