Braves cruise into district title game

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scott County Central blasted Oran 79-39 in the Class 1 District 1 semifinals.

GIDEON, Mo. -- As Scott County Central players made their way to the locker room for halftime leading by 26 points over Oran on Tuesday night, Braves coach Ronnie Cookson shouted at them for making a lackluster attempt to come down with a rebound in the closing seconds.

"We didn't block out," Scott County senior Caleb Johnson said. "To him [Cookson], it don't matter how many we're up by -- 40, 50, 60. We got to keep playing hard."

For a second straight night Scott County beat up on its opponent. The Braves cruised past the Eagles 79-39 in Class 1 District 1 action at Gideon High School.

Scott County has outscored its first two district opponents 173-76 and advanced to the district title game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Gideon.

Still, Cookson, as usual, found areas in which his team must correct as it moves forward in the postseason.

"Oh, we've got a whole lot to improve on," Cookson said. "We didn't play very well tonight. We made a lot of sily mistakes that we can't make."

Cookson has led the Braves to 12 state titles and stays on his players during routs to keep them focused for the tougher competition that is coming soon.

Scott County's D.D. Gillespie said Cookson also expressed his displeasure to the team at halftime because they did not build a lead quick enough.

"He's real hard on us," Gillespie said. "He didn't think we came out and played the way we were supposed to play. We were supposed to jump on them but we didn't like coach wanted us to so he got on to us."

Scott County played its typcial fast-paced style in the first half.

The Braves jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 2 minutes, 7 seconds of the contest by forcing turnovers and creating fast-breaks.

Scott County led 23-8 after the first quarter -- a period in which the two underlcassmen in the starting lineup, 6-1 freshman post-player Otto Porter and sophomore Bobby Hatchett, stepped up on offense. Hatchett scored five while Porter chipped in four.

Porter has just recently been inserted as a starter, a decision Cookson said he made a few games ago to add more height to the lineup.

The Braves entered halftime ahead by 26 points and kept building on the margin the second half. And as the Braves kept scoring, their coach remained tough with them.

With the Braves leading by 40 points in the third quarter, Drew Thomas, who was leading his team with 24 points missed a dunk and Cookson immediately replaced him.

Johnson said his coach's tough love is keeping the team in the right mindframe.

"We're taking it one game at a time," Johnson said. "Hopefully, we can get to that sectional game. ... We know we go to come out and play our game. If you lose you go home so we come out every night and we don't look at the team. We just look at trying to get to that next game."

Scott County2323285--79

Oran (39) -- Klayton Kyle 3, Cody W. Dirnberger 2, Kurt Rendleman 2m Cody Romas 1, Tyler Beardslee 5, Kody Campbell 24, Jake Kluesner 2. FG 14, FT 10-16, F 5. (3-pointers: Campbell 1. Fouled out: none)

Scott County (79) -- Jarron Banks 3, D.D. Gillespie 13, Bobby Hatchett 10. Mark Freed 2, Drew Thomas 24, Caleb Johnson 9, Radny Timmons 2, Jac'quan Cowley 2. FG 37, FT 4-7, F 9. (3-pointers: Gillespie 1. Fouled out: xxxxx)

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