Christmas Tournament: Charleston marches past Oran without Parham

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Oran did a good job limiting Charleston's inside duo of Darrion Carter and Sumner Foster.

Except Trey Watkins made the Eagles pay.

Watkins, subbing for the injured Ryan Parham, enjoyed by far his best game of the season, scoring 22 points and dishing out five assists as the Bluejays downed Oran 90-63 in a championship quarterfinal of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Friday at the Show Me Center.

"They left him open," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "He seldom scores, but he has the ability to score. That was his coming-out game, and it came at a good time."

Watkins, a 6-foot-2 senior, had eight points in the first quarter as the Bluejays, the tournament's top seed and defending champion, opened up an 18-12 lead. Watkins added nine more in the second as the Bluejays (9-1) closed the half with a 12-0 run and enjoyed a 48-26 lead at intermission.

"[Watkins] had some big buckets early that helped them out," said Oran coach Joe Shoemaker. "We wanted to keep the ball from getting inside, and he hit some big shots for them."

"I think they kind of took Carter away," Farmer said as Carter was limited to six points in the first half. "I thought they did a good job taking him away, forcing us to make outside shots."

That's where Watkins came in. He had two 3-pointers in the first quarter, then took his game inside in the second period, coming up with two 3-point plays the old fashioned way.

"With Ryan out, we had no one there that stepped up today," Watkins said. "I just did what I had to do."

"He stepped it up in practice, and he stepped it up in the game," said Foster, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. "When he does that, it opens up a lot of things."

With Oran forced to extend its defense in the second half, the game turned into a track meet, which played right into Charleston's hands. The Bluejays extended their 12-0 run to 20-0 and a 56-26 third-period lead before Oran's Hunter Schlosser stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws.

"We didn't want to keep it close," said Farmer. "A 10-point game is pecking distance. You've got to give Oran credit. They played hard the whole game. We've got to get that killer instinct to put teams away."

The eighth-seeded Eagles (9-2) scored the final nine points of the third period to pull within 63-42 heading into the final quarter.

But after trading baskets, the Bluejays put the game out of reach with a 9-0 run that bumped the lead back to 76-46 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left.

"They speed you up very well," Shoemaker said. "It's hard to keep the tempo you want when they put that pressure on you. They kind of wore us out a little bit, I believe, and they went on a nice little run. But our kids didn't quit."

Kody Moore and Alex Heuring each scored 15 points to lead Oran.

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