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Braves win big against NMCC
MORLEY -- Bobby Hatchett hadn't played a full game in over a month, and a big game looms on the horizon.
So Hatchett and the other Scott County Central starters played the entire game Friday, helping the Braves handle New Madrid County Central 94-59 in boys basketball action.
"It has a lot to do with getting ready for Sikeston," Hatchett said. "We haven't really had a straight day of practice, off-the-wall practice yet. So we needed to come out and play a lot, get that rhythm back."
Friday was Scott County's final tuneup for the much-anticipated game against Sikeston, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at a sold-out Show Me Center. While Sikeston dropped its game at Poplar Bluff on Friday, the Braves wanted to enter Wednesday's game on a high note.
"It's really going to help us," Scott County coach Ronnie Cookson said of leaving his starters in for the entire game. "We're trying to get ready for Sikeston and the rest of the season."
It looked for a moment like Cookson's plan to get his starters plenty of action backfired when standout senior guard Drew Thomas went in for a layup with 4 seconds left in the game. He made the basket but dropped to floor while grimacing in pain after the basket.
Thomas limped off the floor and into the locker room after the clock expired. Thomas quickly put any fears to rest after coming out of the locker room.
"I got a cramp, that's all," Thomas said. "I don't think I'm out of shape. I came down on it a little bit."
Cookson said he never worried after seeing Thomas limp into the locker room.
"He's out of shape," Cookson said. "He was cramping. He'll be all right."
Part of the Braves' problem was the layoff after the winter storm. Hatchett said the team struggled a little Friday because it still was trying to get used to playing after the break.
"We practiced a little bit, but we didn't get to practice like we wanted to," he said. "It hurt us. But we'll be back. We're going to finish our work now."
The Braves flashed their patented pressure defense from the start, forcing New Madrid into six first-quarter turnovers. Scott County opened a 16-2 lead through the first 5 1/2 minutes.
But the Eagles went on a 7-1 run to end the first quarter to slice into the Braves' lead.
"I thought we just weren't getting back on defense," Thomas said. "We got off the press and the outside man wasn't getting back and they were getting easy buckets to the basket."
Scott County got into a flow in the second quarter, when it opened with a 9-0 run and scored 31 points while shooting 58 percent (11 of 19) from the floor.
The Braves' quick-strike offense only managed six points through the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter before getting going again. Scott County scored 17 points in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the quarter.
"We were just in a rush to score and do things that we tried to do," Hatchett said. "We just had to slow it down a little bit."
Thomas led the Braves with 32 points while Otto Porter added 23. Hatchett finished with 14 points and 10 assists.
@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:NMCC (59) -- Dontre Jenkins 12, Keith Holmes 8, Kony Ealy 10, Josh Minner 20, G'Darlus Stevenson 4, Bryan Waters 2, Terry Young 3. FG 24, FT 8-19, F 25. (3-pointers: Holmes 2, Minner 1. Fouled out: Ealy)
SCC (94) -- Drew Thomas 32, Otto Porter 23, Bobby Hatchett 14, Randy Timmons 13, Desmin Williams 10, JacQuan Cowley 2. FG 35, FT 23-34, F 15. (3-pointers: Williams 1. Fouled out: None)