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Charleston zooms away from Notre Dame in the SEMO Conference Tournament semifinals
SIKESTON, Mo. -- Notre Dame hung right with heavily favored Charleston for almost the entire first half.
But the Bluejays scored six straight points over the final 35 seconds of the second quarter to build momentum.
Charleston turned the second half into a massive blowout and romped 69-35 in Thursday night's first semifinal at the SEMO Conference Tournament.
"It's a tale of two halves. That's how our team has been so far in every game," said Notre Dame coach Kevin Roberts, whose squad that starts four sophomores fell to 1-2. "We're young. We'll learn."
Top-seeded Charleston, the defending tournament and Class 3 state champion, advances to today's 8:30 p.m. title contest against second-seeded, host Sikeston. Those squads also met in last year's final.
Fifth-seeded Notre Dame will face third-seeded Central for third place at 7 p.m. today.
"It's good to be in the finals again," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer, whose team improved to 5-0.
Charleston, the state's top-ranked Class 3 squad, received all it could handle from Notre Dame during the first half.
The Bulldogs battled the Bluejays to a 12-12 tie after one quarter and grabbed a 14-12 lead early in the second period.
Charleston opened a 27-16 advantage midway through the second quarter, but Notre Dame cut the deficit to 29-26 in the closing seconds of the period.
Senior guard Michael Hull hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left and, following a Notre Dame turnover, senior point guard Ryan Parham drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
All of a sudden it was 35-26 entering the break.
"Going into halftime it could have easily been a three-point game. Instead it's nine and they have all the momentum," Roberts said.
That momentum never waned as Charleston quickly turned things into a rout.
The Bluejays scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to go up 45-26 as Notre Dame committed three turnovers and missed all five of its field goals to start the period.
"We missed some bunnies down low," said Roberts, whose squad was hurt by 28 turnovers in the contest.
Notre Dame never got back in contention. The Bulldogs were outscored 27-4 in the period as the Bluejays built a 62-30 advantage.
"We played good in the first half. We executed well," Notre Dame sophomore forward Tanner Shively said. "We didn't execute as well in the second half. They're a good team. They've got good talent."
The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock that is used when there is at least a 30-point lead in the final period. Charleston's biggest advantage was 36 points.
"When they play hard, they're really good," Roberts said of the Bluejays. "I don't think their energy level was real high in the first half."
Farmer liked the way the Bluejays improved their play in the second half.
"I thought Notre Dame played good in the first half," Farmer said. "The second half we turned it up a little bit."
Farmer said he took notice of Notre Dame's first-round win over Jackson in which the Bulldogs rallied from a 19-point halftime deficit.
"We were worried about that comeback," Farmer said. "We didn't want them hanging around."
Hull led Charleston with 17 points, 10 during the third quarter. He made three 3-pointers in the game.
"He's our shooter," Farmer said.
Parham and senior forward Sumner Foster added 11 points apiece.
Junior forward Jordan Barber paced Notre Dame with 10 points.
"We just have to put this one behind us and get ready [for Central in today's third-place game]," Roberts said.
Notre Dame 12 14 4 5 -- 35
Charleston 12 23 27 7 -- 69
NOTRE DAME (35) -- Cody Debrock 3, Quinn Poythress 5, Patrick Williamson 2, Dalton Welch 3, Trenton Schumer 2, Grant Ressel 3, Jordan Barber 10, Tanner Shively 7. FG 14, FT 3-3, F 19. (3-pointers: Debrock 1, Poythress 1, Welch 1, Ressel 1. Fouled out: none)
CHARLESTON (69) -- Delfino Bogan 5, Robert Bogan 3, Ryan Parham 11, Michael Hull 17, Trey Watkins 2, Michael Kellum 2, Darrion Henderson 2, Sumner Foster 11, Shandor Webster 7, Darrion Carter 9. FG 25, FT 12-21, F 13. (3-pointers: D. Bogan 1, Parham 2, Hull 3, Webster 1. Fouled out: Foster)