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Oran races into semis at Scott-Miss tourney
SCOTT CITY -- Oran just kept pulling away and pulling away.
The Eagles held Kelly scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the second half and went on a 26-0 run to cruise to a 59-28 victory in an opening-round game at the Scott-Mississippi Conference boys basketball tournament.
"We had much better rhythm [in the second half]," Oran coach Joe Shoemaker said. "I challenged them to stay down defensively and get up and guard. We were aggressive. We did a good job."
The Eagles (10-4) put on quite the defensive clinic in the second half. The Hawks scored with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter and didn't score again until 2:30 remained in the fourth.
"Me and Preston [Scherer] decided to put some pressure on the guards," Eagles senior Gabe Kielhofner said. "We wanted to gamble a little bit more and it worked."
Kelly hung in there during the first half, particularly the first quarter.
Oran held just a 14-11 lead at the end of the first after the Hawks' Michael Kuykendall and Stosh Lovett hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the period.
"We hit shots," Kelly coach Nate Wills said. "We were trying to be patient and get good quality shots over quantity shots. We were finding the open man and trying to pull their big man away from the basket because we were undersized. We played with confidence in the first half."
The Hawks used a patient attack in the first half to frustrate the Eagles at times.
"They passed the ball around well," Kielhofner said. "We had some turnovers and were shooting too fast. We didn't work it around and get the ball inside."
Oran started to gain a little edge in the second quarter.
Jon Morrow opened the quarter with consecutive baskets and Kielhofner added a two to expand the lead to 20-11.
The Hawks answered to draw to 20-16, but Oran rattled off nine straight to build a 29-17 lead at the half.
The Eagles hit the ground running in the second half, forcing turnover after turnover to build a 30-point lead.
"Once they got some steals, we lost our discipline," Wills said. "They were getting good looks under the basket. They have offensive weapons and did a job. We got down and had to hurry and take some shots we normally wouldn't and it became them rebounding and outleting for a layup."
Kielhofner stepped up his play in the third quarter.
After just two points in the first half, he scored eight of his team's 15 points in the third. He finished the game with 14.
"I just put pressure on them," Kielhofner said. "Got some steals, ran the floor and pushed out in transition."
Shoemaker was impressed with his senior guard.
"He does what you ask a senior to do," Shoemaker said. "He takes charges and passes well. He has some long arms and sticky hands. He gets his hands on a lot of balls and gets deflections."
With the Eagles up 33-20, Hawks forward Brandon Dambach hit a free throw. The free throw was Kelly's final point until Oran had built a 59-21 advantage.
Morrow finished with 15 points and Nathan Michelsen added 14 for the Eagles, who will plan East Prairie in today's 8:30 p.m. semifinal. Scott County faces Delta in today's 7 p.m. semifinal.
KELLY (28) -- Stosh Lovett 6, Michael Fisher 6, Brandon Dambach 5, Michael Kuykendall 3, Sawyer Elfrink 3, Blake Wadlington 2, Dustin Crowden 2, Shawn Heuring 1. FG 9, FT 6-14, F 17. (3-pointers: Lovett, Kuykendall, Fisher, Elfrink. Fouled out: none)
ORAN (59) -- Jon Morrow 15, Gabe Kielhofner 14, Nathan Michelsen 14, Caleb Priggel 6, Preston Scherer 6, Reece Mangels 2, Dylan Adams 2. FG 23, FT 12-23, F 17. (3-pointers: Michelsen. Fouled out: none)