Oak Ridge boys basketball team's second half too much for Delta

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Oak Ridge's Ryan Below gets off a shot in front of Delta's Dallas Naramore during the third quarter of a Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament consolation semifinal game on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at the Show Me Center. Oak Ridge won 52-41. (Kristin Eberts)

Oak Ridge sophomore Ryan Below saw Delta's defensive alignment and decided to take advantage.

"When they play a man defense against me, I can score a lot easier," he said. "They started out with that. Then they switched to a zone and I still scored, but not at will."

Below scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the second half to rally the Blue Jays past the Bobcats 52-41 in a Southeast Missourian Christmas tournament consolation semifinal Thursday.

"They were singling him most of the time, and if that's the case, we're going to try to get him the ball every time," Oak Ridge coach Adam Stoneking said. "He's that good. I thought he did a really good job of trying to score when they singled him and trying to kick it back out when they doubled him. That's something -- he's only a sophomore -- so he's still learning how to get that ball out of a double team."

The Bobcats built a six-point lead at halftime by taking care of the basketball. Delta only committed two turnovers in the second quarter, and they both came in the closing two minutes. The Bobcats went 5 of 7 on 3-pointers in the first half.

"Our first half was some of the best basketball we could have played," Delta coach Jimmy Johnson said. "I was so proud of them at halftime. We made a few adjustments, but when you start the half with an air ball and three turnovers, it kind of sets the tone for the whole second half."

Delta's good fortunes ended quickly after the intermission. It turned over the ball 13 times and only shot 27 percent from the floor.

"They were much more aggressive on defense in the second half, but we were much less aware," Johnson said. "They picked up their aggressiveness some, but we stopped doing what we did in the first half. Kind of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We weren't aggressive doubling down on Below, like we did in the first half."

Oak Ridge sophomore Kelby Brown said the Blue Jays' increased defensive intensity originated with Stoneking's halftime speech.

"He was trying to stress it by yelling at us," Brown said. "He said he was trying to motivate us. He said if he just came in and talked to us gently, we wouldn't understand how important it was to get out on the shooters."

The Blue Jays gained control of the game in the third quarter by outscoring the Bobcats 16-4. Oak Ridge (6-5) started the quarter on a 9-2 run.

"We just kind of came alive more," Below said. "I don't think we were into the game at all the first half. We got a good talking to in the locker room. We just came out and we got a steal on the press and a few layups."

Delta senior Greg Brawley led the Bobcats (6-4) with 20 points. He scored at least 20 points in all three tournament games.

The Blue Jays earned a rematch with Chaffee for the consolation title. The Red Devils beat Oak Ridge 55-49 in last year's consolation championship game.

"Last year we kind of screwed it up," Below said.

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OAK RIDGE (52) -- Hunter Seyer 2, Kelby Brown 9, Ryan Below 17, Jake LeGrand 6, Dakota Zoellner 8, Kyle Rohde 2, Lance Rohde 8. FG 19, FT 12-21, F 9. (3-pointers: Brown 2. Fouled out: none.)

DELTA (41) -- Greg Brawley 20, Frankie Rozmirsky 2, Dillon Lincoln 6, Tanner Schabbing 4, Austin Lashley 5, Dallas Naramore 4. FG 16, FT 4-5, F 17. (3-pointers: Brawley 3, Lincoln 2. Fouled out: Schabbing)

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