(CHRIS POBST ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)
The three-time defending state champion Braves used a huge first quarter to distance themselves in a 68-56 victory against Oak Ridge on Tuesday.
SCC (5-2) jumped out to a 24-9 lead in the first quarter and never seriously were challenged by Oak Ridge, considered to be one of the Braves' toughest district foes.
The Blue Jays (4-4) actually outscored the Braves 34-26 in the second half, but they never got closer than the final margin.
Despite the convincing victory, SCC coach Kenyon Wright was not pleased with the way his team performed after seeing four starting players combine for 62 of the team's 68 total points.
"We did what we wanted to do for the most part, but once we got the three and four fouls, my guys off the bench didn't come in ready to play," Wright said. "That's the whole game to me. They didn't come in with their minds ready to get after it. That's something that we've got to fix. We've got to have guys on that bench that are ready to play."
The Braves still dominated Tuesday's game despite a few kinks to work out.
SCC's full-court press caused numerous turnovers that resulted in uncontested layups, which helped them jump out to a 13-0 lead.
"This is the first time that we've really been pressed in any game this year, and so I knew it was going to be an issue," Oak Ridge coach Adam Stoneking said. "We just came out a little flat. We let their quickness get to us a little bit. But we settled down. I think we battled back really hard. I don't think the press really killed us after the first three or four possessions."
SCC led 24-9 after one quarter and continued to pile on the points in the second quarter, leading by as much as 37-13 midway through the period.
Oak Ridge, despite a distinct size advantage, found itself hoisting hurried 3-pointers for much of the first half. It didn't hit any.
"I was just telling my assistant about how well we shot the ball in practice," Stoneking said. "Those are shots that normally fall that just didn't tonight."
SCC, which led 42-22 at the half, began getting into foul trouble in the third quarter, which forced Wright to go to his bench.
"We got in foul trouble and my guys that come off the bench didn't step up," Wright said. "They've got to learn to come in there and get after it. They got in there and played timid."
SCC's Dominique Porter scored 18 points before fouling out.
Oak Ridge was led by 6-foot-3 sophomore Ryan Below's 23 points.
"Ryan Below really played so hard tonight," Stoneking said. "He really focused on making one move and scoring, not making two or three."
Oak Ridge (56) -- Kelby Brown 5, Jake LeGrand 5, Ryan Below 23, Corvin Schoen 6, Lance Rohde 8, Kyle Rohde 9. FG 20, FT 10-17, F 10. (3-pointers: Brown 1, LeGrand 1. Fouled out: none)
Scott County Central (68) -- Larandis Banks 16, Jaylen Porter 14, Tyler Master 2, Dustin Johnson 4, Dominique Porter 18, LaMarcus Steward 14. FG 26, FT 4-9, F 18. (3-pointers: Banks 2, Steward 1, D. Porter 1. Fouled out: D. Porter)