Scott County overcomes lack of depth with determined play

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Braves reached the Oran final despite playing just six players most of the tournament.

The Scott County Central boys basketball team doesn't have the depth to wear down teams with waves of players.

In fact, the Braves' runner-up finish in the Oran Invitational tournament last week left an impression because they did it while relying on a six-player rotation.

"They gave us all we wanted and more," Malden coach Robert Ison said after his team's 91-83 victory in the final Friday. "I just knew that they would wear down, but those kids have great hearts. They play hard, they play together with each other and they're a great team."

Scott County Central did eventually wear down, but not before the Class 1 school gave the Class 3 Green Wave a scare. The Braves put together a 11-2 run about midway through the third period to take a 54-51 lead.

"I thought, in the middle of the third quarter, we'd be able to wear Scott County down because they don't have much depth," said Ison, who used nine players for significant stretches, "but they just kept coming, kept coming and kept coming and my hat goes off to them."

Malden finally put together an 11-0 run to turn a two-point deficit into a 69-60 lead.

"Our kids played hard," Scott County Central coach Ronnie Cookson said, "but we had a mental breakdown at that one spot and they came back and got ahead of us, and we could never roll it over again."

Comeback kings

Advance put together the Oran tournament's biggest comeback, rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Bell City 69-63 in the third-place game.

Advance trailed 32-22 midway through the game and put up 47 points in the second half.

"The kids came out and played with a little more energy there in the second half," Advance coach Joe Shoemaker said. "They [Bell City] played with more energy than us the first 13 minutes of the first half, and that's as simple as it gets."

Once Advance claimed the lead, it clinched the win from the free-throw line. The Hornets were 15-for-17 from the line in the fourth period and 21-for-25 for the game.

"That's very pleasing to a coach when you go to the line and ice the game like that," Shoemaker said.

Not good from the line

In Scott County Central's 76-71 semifinal win against Bell City, the Braves were 19-for-39 from the line, while the Cubs converted 14 of 26.

Bogan's foul troubles

Bell City's 6-foot-10 standout Will Bogan was plagued by foul trouble both in the third-place game and the semifinal loss to Scott County Central.

He still managed 23 points against Advance, including 12 in the final period.

"When he's in there, he adds a whole different element," Bell City coach Brian Brandtner said. "He's making a conscious effort to post up, he's a presence on defense, and we need him in there."

Bogan was on the bench for much of the third quarter for the second straight night.

He had scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in just the first half against Scott County Central.

"Bogan played an outstanding ballgame," Scott County Central's Cookson said. "I've got to commend him on the way he played. He's tough when he wants to be."

He finished with 29 points and 20 rebounds despite foul troubles.

Nick Niemczyk picked up the slack in the third quarters of both games. He scored 10 of his 15 points in the third period against the Braves. Against Advance, he scored 13 of Bell City's 15 points in the quarter on his way to a game-high 24.

But the losses left Bell City, the defending Oran tournament champion and the Class 1 state runner-up last year, at 2-3.

"Right now, the bottom line is we've got to get better just to be bad," Brandtner said. "We've got to have people step up. We're lacking that now.

"We've got the tools. It's just a matter of putting it together. We will get better, and we will come together."

All-tournament girls

Scott County Central won the Naylor Tournament on Friday with a 40-39 victory against the tourney host.

Senior Brittney Peet, junior Brianna Johnson and senior Samantha Jones were chosen to the all-tournament team.

The Bravettes will get an early look at its new Class 1 disrict opponent today at 7 p.m. in the first round of Chaffee's tournament. The fifth-seeded Bravettes, who have won their recent district tournaments without having an opponent, will take on fourth-seeded Oran at 7 p.m.

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