SCOTT-MISS. COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Oran, Scott County Central boys basketball advance to title game
SIKESTON — Dating back to 7th grade, the senior classes for East Prairie and Oran do not shy away from gritty battles.
Tuesday night was nothing short of the same, as both Eagles’ teams battled to the end, with Oran squeaking out an 82-75 victory, in the first semifinal matchup of the Scott County-Mississippi County Tournament, at Scott County Central High School.
East Prairie got the ball rolling early, as senior Mason Bryars drilled his first two shot attempts of the game, to go on a personal 6-0 run.
Bryars finished with nine points in the period — all 3-pointers — and shot 3 of 5 from the field. Oran though took a two-point lead heading into the second quarter, as it was shaping up to be another tightly-contested game.
“We knew we’d been in for a battle,” Oran head coach Joe Shoemaker said. “Casey does such a good job with them over there, and they’re super talented. They played hard tonight. It’s usually a close game, and I’m just happy our kids stuck with it, battled, and our big guys inside had a big mismatch to deal with, but they just kept battling hard, and we hit some big free throws down the stretch.”
There is something about Ronnie Cookson Gymnasium, that senior Caleb Patrick loves.
Just three weeks ago, Patrick made the go-ahead bucket to give the Eagles a remarkable come-from-behind victory against Scott County Central, and on Tuesday, the senior was able to score at will.
Patrick finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.
“Caleb, I thought we did a good job looking for him,” East Prairie head coach Casey Knight said. “We got to move the ball, move our body, and then get it to him because sometimes we come down and try to force it to him. I thought we did a good job executing and taking advantage of his height. A good team like Oran, you got to take whatever you can get and that was something going in, that was the game plan. He did a good job of being strong with the ball and scoring.”
Typically, 3-pointers is the bread-and-butter for Oran (20-1), but on Tuesday night, the Eagles did an excellent job of defending the perimeter and not allowing them to take as many perimeter shots.
A difficult objective to stop most times, the Eagles were able to help and recover early, to make the perimeter jumpers for Oran much more difficult.
“It’s tough, and we tried just to take away everybody but Jacob’s drive,” Knight said. “Jacob Shoemaker is a great player, and it doesn’t matter how you play him, he’s going to score. Our focus was to try and take away everybody else’s drive, that way we were in help position, because a lot of their threes come from a drive and kick, and once you help and recover late, they’re going to pop a three. So, we tried to deter the drive, that way we could early help and early recovery and have high hands.”
In the third quarter, East Prairie (11-9) made a rally, as it hit four 3-pointers and outscored Oran 21-19 in the frame, to trail by six points heading into the fourth.
Despite not having the touch from long-range as they usually do, Oran was able to dictate the game based on its aggressiveness.
Adjusting well to the game, Oran was able to drive to the lane and create contact on East Prairie, which allowed them to get to the free-throw line — an area that they buried East Prairie in to end the game.
Oran shot 19 of 23 (83 percent) from the foul line, including 12 of 15 in the fourth quarter to ice the game, and send itself to the championship game on Friday night, at Ronnie Cookson Gymnasium.
EAST PRAIRIE (75) — Derez Tipler 22, Harrison Moore 2, Brian Merryman 4, Mason Bryars 17, Tyler McCurter 8, Caleb Patrick 22. FG 29, FT 5-12, F 17. (3-pointers: Tipler 6, Bryars 4, McCurter 2. Fouled out: Merryman)
ORAN (82) — Jacob Shoemaker 32, Cooper Priggel 4, Langdon Scheeter 4, Tyson Goodale 21, Ty Johnson 8, Todd Priggel 13. FG 27, FT 19-23, F 14. (3-pointers: Shoemaker 5, Goodale 2, Johnson 2. Fouled out: none)
Scott County Central 80, Oak Ridge 63
SIKESTON — In the second semifinal of the day, Scott County Central bludgeoned Oak Ridge, 80-63.
The Braves were able to bury the Bluejays early, as they dictated the pace from the tip.
Scott County Central got out to a 23-16 lead after the first quarter and led by double-digits heading into halftime.
Kioki Johnson had a strong game for the Braves, as he finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Keshawn Sanders also provided a quality scoring night, as he finished with 24 points.
Taking care of the ball was an added plus for Scott County Central (10-8), as they only had eight turnovers on the night.
“I felt like we got down and got in front of them. We didn’t really try to speed them up too much. They stayed down, and for the most part, they limited them to one shot. I thought tonight was the smartest game they’ve played. They moved the ball really well around on offense and worked for the easy shot. I was very proud of them.”
Super-scorer David Layton led Oak Ridge (14-6) with 31 points. He shot 14 of 33 from the floor and missed a double-double by one rebound.
OAK RIDGE (63) — David Layton 31, Zach LeGrand 12, Dylan Jones 4, Tanner Schamburg 3, Jeremiah Hamilton 3, Garrett Seabaugh 3, Bryce Hahs 3, Justin Ward 2, Eli Sachse 2. FG 25, FT 8-13, F 15. (3-pointers: LeGrand 2, Layton, Hamilton, Hahs. Fouled out: none)
SCC (80) — Keshawn Sanders 24, Garry Wilkerson 22, Kioki Johnson 14, Landon Glueck 9, Dalton Blissett 5, Landon Estes 4, Keron Banks 2. (3-pointers: Glueck 2, Wilkerson. Fouled out: none)