Delta holds off late-charging Scott County Central for tourney title

Delta's Allie Hampton (12) reaches for the ball as Scott County Central's Bre'Asia Jones (1) dribbles during the Delta New Year's Tournament championship game Thursday at Delta High School in Delta.
Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian

It took a while for top-seed Scott County Central to find its offensive rhythm Thursday against No. 2-seed Delta in the New Year's Tournament championship game hosted by the Bobcats.

By the time, the Bravettes were clicking they had dug themselves a huge hole to climb out of.

Delta (9-3) held off a second-half charge by Scott County Central (5-2) to win the title 59-54 after leading much of the night by double digits.

"We didn't play well all night," second-year Bobcat coach David Heeb said. "We played hard, and early in the game, we played OK."

"Early in the game" Delta played great, while Scott County Central struggled mightily.

The Bravettes turned the ball over 13 times in the opening period, which prompted Scott County Central coach Andrew Pullen to call a pair of timeouts during the stretch.

The Bobcats led 12-1 before Bravette senior Samantha Coffee drained a 3-pointer at the 2:37 mark of the quarter for her team's first basket.

Scott County Central scored five consecutive points before Delta sophomore point guard Ashley White answered with a trey of her own, which was a sign of things to come.

"The first half, especially," Heeb said of White, "she was great."

White scored 10 points in the opening quarter and eight more before halftime, as she finished with a game-high 23 points.

She connected on four 3-pointers on the night, several of which came as rebuttals to a Bravette run.

Scott County Central didn't resolve its turnover issues until after halftime, as they closed the second quarter with four consecutive mistakes, and Delta took a 37-22 lead into the locker room.

However, Pullen's adjustments at halftime began to pay dividends, as his team played an effective zone defense and offensively, early in the fourth quarter, the Bravettes went on a 9-2 run to trim their deficit to 50-46.

"As the game went along," Heeb said, "and Scott County Central kind of cleaned some things up, and the game got tight... I was proud of how we finished the game and how we started the game. But there was a stretch in the middle where it wasn't so good."

With the Bravettes threatening, Delta got late free throws from sophomore Kendall Holweg and senior Coley Blattel, while Allie Hampton took a pass from Blattel to score a basket. However, Scott County Central got a free throw from Timiyah Winston to pull within 55-50 with plenty of time remaining.

But here came White once again.

She drove the ball in transition and came to a jump stop just off the right block with 2:10 remaining and scored a bucket with an athletic move over a Scott County Central defender.

White then sealed the win with a free throw for her team's final points later on.

Coffee paced her team with 18 points, but fellow senior Rita Meeker (17 points) was really difficult for Delta to contend with in the post.

"Give Scott County credit," Heeb said, "they are really good at going in (the paint) and drawing fouls."

The Bravettes shot 31 free throws on the night, while sophomore Micah Adams added 13 points in the loss.

Blattel scored nine in the win, while Holweg added 11.

"I was proud of how our kids hung on at the end," Heeb said.

Scott County Central10121517--54

Delta (59) -- Allie Hampton 5, Ashley White 23, Megan Miller 6, Gracie Branum 3, Sierra Berry 2, Coley Blattel 9, Kendall Holweg 11. FG 21, FTs 9-18, 3-pointers (White 4, Holweg).

Scott County Central (54) -- Samantha Coffee 18, Bre'Asia Jones 2, Micah Adams 13, Kyla Pearson 3, Rita Meeker 17, Timiyah Winston 1. FG 18, FTs 17-31, 3-pointers (Coffee).

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