Heeb sees improved play in Braves' skid

Monday, January 16, 2006

Scott County Central has lost five straight games but shown inspired play.

The Scott County Central boys basketball team suffered its fifth straight loss Friday night, but Braves coach David Heeb could feel a little better about his team's effort in a 78-62 loss to Charleston.

The Bluejays are ranked among the state's top 10 Class 3 teams.

"For our kids to play like that against a quality team like that, I'm very proud of the effort," Heeb said.

The Class 1 Braves, whose tallest player is 6-foot-1 sophomore Caleb Johnson, had a hard time matching up with Charleston on the boards. But Johnson and sophomore D.D. Gillespie combined for 37 points and Richard Brownlee, who also played part of the junior varsity game, came up with four important points in a second-half flurry.

"We've gotten better every week, every day, and, if we can keep improving, I believe in these guys," said Heeb, whose team fell to 5-9. "I believe that we're going to turn the corner. We're close.

"Absolutely, we grew up tonight. Tonight was the first time that I felt like we made an effort to pick ourselves up against a good team. When we missed a shot, we had guys fighting for the rebound. When we turned it over, we had guys running back [down the floor]. We didn't just give Charleston anything ... and that's what you look for."

Kelly on a roll

The top-seeded Kelly boys basketball team tuned up for the Scott-Mississippi Conference tournament by beating Scott County Central last Tuesday night and then hammering Chaffee 82-30 on Friday.

The Hawks picked up their 77-70 win against Scott County Central without coach Cory Johnson, who was out with strep throat.

"This is the second time I have taken over for coach when he has been sick," Kelly assistant Matt Hale said. "Feels good to get the win for Coach. I am learning from one of the best coaches in the area."

Kelly took control of the game with a 13-0 run in the third quarter that gave it a 53-49 lead. The Hawks eventually built a lead of 13 -- 70-57 -- with 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Kelly outrebounded Scott County Central 40-37, and the Hawks' bench outscored Scott Central's 17-0.

Brandon Ayers led Kelly with 20 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Spencer Ayers scored 18 points and led the Hawks with 10 rebounds.

"We controlled the boards and the guys played hard for all four quarters," Hale said. "We moved the ball well against their press. Big key in the win was that the kids hit their shots and their free throws."

Heeb lamented his team's 14-for-27 free throw performance.

"If you shoot yourself in the foot enough times, you will eventually hit some toes," Heeb said. "D.D. [Gillespie] played well, but we need some guys to start to step up. Our young guys have a lot to learn. We can't rebound, we just gave them a lot of their points. Nothing against Kelly, they played a good game, but we just gave them the game tonight. We are so young, we can't give anything away."

Gillespie had 37 points for the Braves.

More free throw woes

The Notre Dame girls basketball team made just 4 of 14 free throws but held on for a 63-57 victory against Sikeston on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs missed five straight in a 3-minute scoreless streak late in the game.

"Missing those free throws down the stretch could have cost us," said Notre Dame coach Jerry Grim.

Free-throw hero

Advance's Daryl Wade was 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in the closing seconds to preserve the Hornets' 61-56 victory against Richland on Friday. Wade finished with a game-high 21 points.

"Daryl is a good player that wants to have the ball at the end of a game," Advance coach Joe Shoemaker said. "And we want him to have it because he will make those free throws for us. He's a senior and knows what we need out of him, and we got it tonight."

Despite the win, Shoemaker was disappointed in his team's fourth-quarter performance. Advance watched a 53-33 lead melt to a 57-54 edge with a little more than a minute to play.

"We played pretty well in the first half -- and even through the third quarter -- but when we got up by 20, we just quit," Shoemaker said.

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