Charleston finishes strong, wins 69-38

Friday, December 31, 2004

The Scott County Central boys basketball had its worst performance of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Thursday in the fifth-place game, but getting in four games at the Show Me Center could do wonders for the team down the road.

The Braves lost 69-38 to second-seeded Charleston and fell to 8-3.

"You'd rather play in games than practice. I just wish the kids had a better effort," Scott County coach Delane Beckwith said.

The No. 9 Braves posted tournament victories against No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 5 Bell City, with their only other loss coming to No. 1 Jackson. Scott County played with the Indians for three quarters before bowing out in the fourth.

"I do think the kids put their hearts on the floor for three games," Beckwith said.

Scott County is 4-2 under Beckwith, the school's principal and interim coach while Melvin Porter is on administrative leave. Porter is under investigation by the Scott County law enforcement officials and the Missouri Division of Social Services.

Beckwith said the team has handled the situation well to this point.

"I try to tell them it's their team," he said. "We're just trying to keep things going for them."

Even with the distractions, the Braves have still managed to climb the state Class 1 poll and string together wins. The Braves have yet to lose to a Class 1 school, with their losses coming to Class 3 Twin Rivers and Charleston, and Class 5 Jackson. Scott County has beaten defending Class 1 state champion Bell City twice this season.

"They've got an opportunity to do things this year; they just have to realize their work effort has to step up in practice," Beckwith said.

Jeremy Johnson was one of the lone bright spots for the Braves on Thursday, scoring 14 points. Johnson was a presence on the court, diving for loose balls and banging for rebounds.

"I feel like Jeremy Johnson played really hard tonight," Beckwith said.

Johnson, along with Avis White and Isaac Porter have provided much of the offense for Scott County. Throw in sophomore Ray Rogers, and the Braves could be primed at taking a shot at a 10th state title.

"If they do those things," Beckwith said, "they might have an opportunity to hang another banner on the wall."

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