Braves maul Eminence

Sunday, March 15, 2009
ABOVE: Scott County Central's Bobby Hatchett shoots just before Eminence's Jay Williams fouls him during the first quarter of their Class 1 quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.
LEFT: Scott County Central's Drew Thomas throws down a dunk during the third quarter Saturday.

POPLAR BLUFF -- Scott County Central senior Drew Thomas caught a perfect lead pass from junior Bobby Hatchett in midair right near the basket early in the third quarter. Thomas laid it up and in for the pretty alley-oop before landing.

The senior got the crowd really roaring though with a powerful dunk minutes later.

It looked like the Drew Thomas and Bobby Hatchett show against Eminence in a Class 1 boys basketball state quarterfinal contest at Three Rivers Community College on Saturday.

Thomas and Hatchett each scored 23 points -- combining for more than half of their team's points -- to help lead the Braves to an 89-58 rout over the Redwings.

The Braves (27-2) advanced to the Class 1 final four for the second straight year and will play a semifinal game against Glasgow (25-5) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

Scott County Central's Desmin Williams shoots against Eminence's Nathan Nichols during the second quarter of their Class 1 quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

No. 2 state-ranked Scott County placed third in the state last year and appears to be the favorite heading to Columbia as No. 1 Jefferson was knocked off in the sectional round.

"It means a lot to me," Thomas said about returning to the final four. "I'm really not excited right now. This is what I expected us to do. We expected to do this. The day I get excited is when I get the first-place championship. That's what I'm looking for."

Hatchett said almost the same thing.

"I'm not going to be satisfied until we win the state championship," Hatchett said.

The game never really was close. Scott County built a double-digit lead 4 minutes, 25 seconds in and never allowed Eminence to close within 10 points.

Scott County Central's Drew Thomas slam dunks against Eminence during the third quarter of the Class 1A quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

The Braves led 37-23 at halftime before putting the game completely out of reach in the third quarter by outscoring Eminence (25-3) 26-14. Scott County started the period on an 8-0 run.

Hatchett and Thomas combined for 15 points in the third. Hatchett was hitting shots from all over, including netting two 3-pointers in the second half.

"I didn't know I could do that," Hatchett said jokingly about his outside shooting. "No, I mean it was just regular. I do it all the time in practice. My whole game plan is to get everybody involved as a guard."

When Hatchett was asked why his team always plays well in the third quarter, he credited coach Ronnie Cookson.

"Coach, I mean he yell at us at halftime," Hatchett said. "He gets on us. He just tries to fix the things we've been doing wrong the first half."

Eminence's James Stephens, right, tries to steal the ball from Scott County Central's Drew Thomas but fouled Thomas during the fourth quarter of the Class 1A quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

The Braves had all five starters score in double figures. Desmin Williams netted 19 points. He played well inside when Otto Porter got into some early foul trouble for the second consecutive game. Porter finished with 12 points, and Randy Timmons had 11.

"Bobby shot the ball excellent today," Cookson said. "He really shot the ball well and of course both of them [Hatchett and Thomas] played hard. They play as hard as they can. Drew done a lot of things good. ... Both of them made a lot of mistakes, too."


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@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:EMINENCE (58) -- Blake Radosovich 6, Jay Williams 21, Brody Fulk 3, Austin Brewer 20, Nathan Nichols 8. FG 22, FT 11-13, F 21. (3-pointers: Williams 2, Fulk 1. Fouled out: Brewer, Nichols)

Scott County Central's Otto Porter drives against Eminence's Austin Brewer during the fourth quarter of the Class 1A quarterfinal Saturday at Poplar Bluff.

SCOTT COUNTY CENTRAL (89) -- Bobby Hatchett 23, Drew Thomas 23, Desmin Williams 19, Randy Timmons 11, Chris Blissett 1, Otto Porter 12. FG 33. FT 18-27, F 16. (3-pointers: Hatchett 2, Thomas 1, Timmons 1. Fouled out: None)

Scott County Central coach Ronnie Cookson shouts to his players during Saturday's state quarterfinal game.
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