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Scott City reaches final at Woodland Tournament
MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The much anticipated second semifinal of the Woodland boys basketball tournament lived up to its hype.
And its seeding.
Second-seeded Scott City pushed past third-seeded Oak Ridge 52-43 late to claim a spot in today's 8 p.m. championship game against top-seeded Leopold.
It appeared as though the Rams were going to run away with the game before the Blue Jays settled down.
Scott City came out firing and laid claim to a 20-7 first quarter advantage.
The Rams dominated on the offensive glass and Jesse Sanders poured in 15 of his game-high 24 points in the opening quarter.
"It was big for us," Scott City coach Mark Dannenmueller said of the opening eight minutes. "We just attacked. ... Jessie was aggressive and we needed it. If we don't come out and start that way then we may only have like six points at halftime. We need it, there's no doubt."
Scott City certainly did as the second quarter appeared to be role reversal.
Oak Ridge became the aggressors, opening the quarter on a 10-2 run to make it a game.
The Blue Jays held the Rams to 1-for-11 shooting in the second quarter and did not allow a field goal until nearly four minutes in.
"Well, we had talked about going to a triangle-and-two Monday night," Oak Ridge coach Adam Stoneking said. "[Ryan] Brock and [Jessie] Sanders took about 34 of their 60 shots last game, so we knew they would take a high percentage of the shots.
"I really wanted to wait until the second quarter to go to it, but we kind of had to go to it there at the end of the first and it just kind of took them out of their game a little bit I think. I knew they would eventually adjust to it, but it worked out a little bit better than what I thought it would."
The change in defense brought Oak Ridge to within 26-24 at the half.
The second half was a dogfight.
Oak Ridge claimed its first lead of the game at 30-28 three minutes into the third quarter on an Andrew Puchbauer basket.
The two teams traded big-time 3-pointers before Scott City's Jonathan McFall went to work.
The senior buried four straight free throws, added a basket, and answered an Oak Ridge basket with another two free throws to make it 39-35. McFall went on a 10-4 run by himself in the heart of the quarter.
"It was real big," McFall said. "It felt good to just step up, make some shots, and get ahead with the team."
It was a third weapon the Rams desperately needed with Sanders struggling in the second half and Brock failing to find his touch all night.
"Well, it's good because when they double team on them, they can kick to me and I can also score," said McFall, who finished with 16 points.
The Rams grabbed a 43-39 lead going into the fourth thanks to McFall and stellar team defense on the Blue Jays' offensive star Ryan Below.
Below finished the game with 13 points, only two coming in the second half.
"I think he just got a little tired," Stoneking said. "He had some opportunities, I think he just kind of rushed his shot. It's something we already talked about that we are going to work on tomorrow and make a better shot selection down low."
The Rams managed to open the gap to start the fourth, stretching the lead to 47-39 and holding the Blue Jays to four points in the quarter on 1-of-13 shooting.
"I thought we did a good job, for the most part, knowing where their shooters were," Dannenmueller said. "It's pretty tough when they got a kid that big in there that's pretty physical and athletic and he can score at the rim, and if you help out too much then they are just going to kick it to the shooters. I don't know how many he ended up with, but I knew he didn't have many, and I thought Ryan did a really good job on him when we went man-to-man."
Scott City buried its free throws to close out the victory.
The Rams hit 20 of 29 (69 percent) shots from the charity stripe while Oak Ridge was 11 of 20 (55 percent).
"We can't afford to have three guys foul out of the game," Stoneking said. "That's really the only thing I talked to them about. If you take away the offense, the defense, whatever, if we don't foul 20-something times then we are probably in that game a little bit more. I think they were in their bonus less than three minutes into the third quarter and now we have to play tight for the rest of the game, otherwise they are going to the line.
"If we could have limited our fouls, especially in the third quarter, it might have been a little bit closer at the end."
Scott City will square off against Leopold at 8 p.m. today for the title.
OAK RIDGE (43) -- Andrew Puchbauer 6, Ethan Seyer 2, Hunter Seyer 11, Ryan Below 13, Lance Rohde 9, Corvin Schoen 2. FG 15, FT 11-20, F 22. (3-pointers: H. Seyer 2. Fouled out: Puchbauer, E. Seyer, Kelby Brown)
SCOTT CITY (52) -- Trent Pobst 5, Jesse Sanders 24, Jonathan McFall 16, Ryan Brock 7. FG 15, FT 20-29, F 18. (3-pointers: Sanders 2. Fouled out: none)