Scott County finds third scoring option in Oran Invite championship victory

Sunday, December 6, 2009 ~ Updated 1:06 AM
Scott County's Stewart Johnson drives past Advance's Darren VanGennip during Friday's Oran Invitational title game. (Tim Brumitt ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

ORAN, Mo. -- Kenyon Wright hopes Stewart Johnson can develop into his secret weapon.

The Scott County Central boys basketball coach liked what he saw from Johnson during Friday's Oran Invitational title game. Johnson hit for 15 points in the Braves' 99-73 victory against Advance.

"It doesn't hurt to have someone in there that can put the ball in the basket too," Wright said. "It's just another weapon. You get that and that could be a big thing for us down the stretch."

Scott County's much-heralded scoring duo of Bobby Hatchett and Otto Porter didn't disappoint during Friday's game, but it was Johnson who helped provide some offensive punch.

"I just try to open it for those two guys, create my shots where there won't have to be so much focus on them," Johnson said. "A lot of guys are going to double Bobby or Otto. I've got to open my shot where the focus isn't going to be on them."

Johnson made plenty of noise at the free-throw line, where he went 7 of 9 (78 percent). He wasn't afraid to drive to the basket and draw contact to earn trips to the charity stripe.

Advance's Darren VanGennip scores around Scott County's defenders during Friday's game.

"It's all about letting it come," Johnson said. "I got comfortable in the zone."

The Braves featured three potent scorers during last year's run to the Class 1 state title. Drew Thomas led the Braves in scoring, while Porter and Hatchett provided plenty of support. But Thomas graduated and the Braves would love to add a third threat this season. Hatchett thinks Johnson can be that man.

"He can score," Hatchett said of Johnson. "Everybody can pitch in. It's real important for Stewart. He can do it. In practice, he can shoot the mid-range pretty good. He hasn't really started varsity yet, so it's going to come for him. He plays hard and he loves playing defense."

Scott County senior Bobby Hatchett drives toward the basket during Friday's game.

Advance stuck with the Braves through the first few minutes of the first quarter as the teams traded the lead six times in the early going. But Porter and Hatchett took over in the first quarter as both players hit for 13 points in the opening eight minutes.

"I felt good," Hatchett said. "Tonight was just a night to get myself involved, start shooting a little more. I just played my regular game. I just let it come, get everyone involved. When I got the shot, I shoot."

Hatchett finished with 23 points and shot 60 percent (9 of 15) from the floor. He added six assists and three steals.

"He's a really good ballplayer," Advance senior Luke Steil said of Hatchett. "He's getting looks from Division I schools. You've got to stay low on him."

Porter wasn't about to be outdone by Hatchett. He scored 32 points while shooting 87 percent from the floor (13 of 15). He added 10 rebounds and four assists. He also managed to draw contact on some of his shots around the basket and made two conventional three-point plays. He missed the free throw on another chance.

"I just want to try to get a couple fouls, try to commit to the fouls so hopefully I can go to the free-throw line," he said. "It just depends on what I'm thinking. I'm trying to get more involved going to the bucket and try to score more."

Advance went to work from long range in the second half after the game was out of reach. The Hornets connected on 5 of 9 3-pointers after the intermission. Matt Ware drilled three in a row from the same spot on the floor during the third quarter.

"When we moved the ball, it worked," Steil said. "We didn't get back on defense. I guess our legs were tired."

The Hornets went through spurts where they broke the Braves' press, but they finished with 23 turnovers.

"They're working hard on the top end of it, but when the ball comes down, we've got to get a lot better in our zone and work it a little better," Wright said of his team's press. "We've got to move and work. We're not moving like we need to in that zone. The back of the press has to get a lot better. Right now, it's just hard to watch."


ADVANCE (73) -- Luke Steil 21, Grant Gray 22, Matt Ware 15, Darren VanGennip 2, John Middleton 2, Hunter Shoemaker 2, Dylan Dunivan 4, Brad Steil 5. FG 28, FT 8-11, F 18. (3-pointers: L. Steil 2, Gray 4, Ware 3. Fouled out: Dunivan)

SCOTT COUNTY CENTRAL (99) -- Stewart Johnson 15, Bobby Hatchett 23, Trey Johnson 9, Otto Porter 32, Bryan Freed 5, Charles McClinton 7, Calvin Porter 2, John Rhoden 4, Chase Woodson 2. FG 38, FT 19-23, F 14. (3-pointers: Hatchett 2, T. Johnson 1, Bryan Freed 1. Fouled out: None)

All-tournament team -- Bobby Hatchett, SCC; Otto Porter, SCC; Gabe Kielhofner, Oran; Luke Steil, Advance; Drew Thornton, Richland.

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