Oran boys basketball blows past Scott City to win district title
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- The Oran boys basketball team has paid its dues. Seven straight district title appearances. Three straight title-game losses.
On Thursday night, the Eagles played like they had no plans on losing another.
Led by senior Max Priggel, who had tasted every one of those three consecutive defeats, top-seeded Oran took a lead midway through the first quarter and just kept rolling, as it contained No. 3 Scott City's top threats and breezed to a 64-31 win and the Class 2 District 2 championship at Perry Park Center.
Priggel scored 29 points to pace all scorers.
"It means everything," Priggel said of the championship. "I've never experienced that before, so it's pretty awesome.
"We've played [Scott City] three times this year. This was the fourth time, so we knew who their best players were and who we had to stop to win, so we had a good game plan coming in. We executed pretty good. I'm pretty proud of the outcome."
The Eagles (19-8) held Rams standout Dylan Keller to 14 points, including just five through three quarters, while Braden Cox finished with eight points.
"Definitely, anybody would take that," Oran coach Joe Shoemaker said. "[Keller] is such a good player. He can pull up for 3 from 30-plus feet, he can get to the rim and finish and he can hit a jump shot. That makes it tough to guard. And Cox is a load and works so hard down there. That was our focus -- try to contain those two as much as possible. Try to help off and recover. I thought our kids did a good job with that."
Most importantly, Oran victimized Scott City (15-14) for 19 turnovers, which limited the third seed to just 25 shot attempts on the night. It also sent the Eagles out in transition, where they feasted on easy looks at the rim.
"You can't turn the ball over against a team like that, they're just too good," Scott City coach Mark Dannenmueller said. "They're already good offensively, and then you let them get out in transition. We turned the ball over too much. I thought our half-court defense was good early, but if you give them runouts, they're going to hit shots.
"They were scared. That's on me. I didn't get them ready."
Oran finished 24 of 52 (46.2 percent), getting twice as many looks at the basket as the Rams.
Layne Johnson added 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Eagles, while Jacob Shoemaker posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, along with four steals.
Scott City finished 11 of 25 (44 percent) from the floor, 3 of 10 from 3-point range and 6 of 9 from the free-throw line.
Joe Panagos opened the game with a 3-pointer for Scott City, which took a 5-2 lead early, but it was all downhill from there for the Rams. Oran went on a 13-0 run as a Priggel three-point play in transition gave the Eagles a 15-5 lead.
It was 19-9 after one quarter.
An 8-0 run to begin the second period, sparked by transition baskets, extended Oran's advantage, which was 36-17 at halftime.
"[Transition] was big because I didn't think we shot the ball very well tonight," coach Shoemaker said. " ... That worried me, because we'd shot pretty well the last couple of times we'd played them. We didn't tonight, but the turnovers and getting out in transition makes the baskets easier. And I thought our kids executed the defensive game plan very well tonight."
Meanwhile, Keller didn't score a point until hitting a contested 3 with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the second quarter.
Oran put things away in the third quarter, closing the period on a 14-0 run as Johnson hit a jumper to cap the swing and give his side a 57-22 lead after three quarters.
"That's when we're at our best -- when we can run up and down the floor and push the ball," Priggel said. "As long as we don't turn the ball over, that's generally when we play our best. Nobody cares who gets credit. Whoever's hot, hit him."
It was the final game for a trio of Scott City seniors -- Keller, Cox and Casey Medlin.
"We have three great seniors and three great kids," Dannenmueller said. "Dylan and Braden have been on varsity for four years. The last three years we've won 18, 15 and 15 (games). They've been pretty successful and won some big games. I just hope they've learned something they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I love them, and they're a great group. I'm proud to have coached them.
"It's been a roller coaster (season), but our kids have stayed with it and fought hard. It just wasn't our night. I told them, 'Don't let tonight make the season look bad.' We gave ourselves a chance. At the beginning of the year everyone wants to play for a district championship, and we did that."
Oran will push on to its first sectional in four years when it faces District 1 champion Hayti on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Jackson High School.
"I think it's the seventh year in a row we've been in a championship game and we've lost the last three," Shoemaker said. "That stings a little bit, and these guys have been a part of it. It's very fulfilling for these guys to get the victory after the last few losses."
SCOTT CITY (31) -- Dylan Keller 14, Joe Panagos 5, Casey Medlin 4, Braden Cox 8. FG 11, FT 6 of 9, F 14. (3-pointers: Keller 2, Panagos. Fouled out: None.)
ORAN (64) -- Max Priggel 29, Layne Johnson 12, Jacob Shoemaker 10, Cole Priggel 8, Drew Reischman 5. FG 24, FT 11-16, F 11. (3-pointers: M. Priggel 4, Johnson. Fouled out: None.)