Top-seeded Charleston defeats Jackson in semifinals of Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament

Sunday, December 30, 2012
Jackson’s Blake Reynolds drives the ball against Charleston’s Trey Watkins in the fourth quarter. (Laura Simon)

Michael Hull carried Charleston in the first quarter.

The Bluejays' defense took over from there.

Top-seeded Charleston forced 10 turnovers in the second quarter and gained separation from fifth-seeded Jackson en route to a 72-54 semifinal victory in the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Saturday night at the Show Me Center.

Defending champion Charleston will try to repeat at 6:30 p.m. today against second-seeded Central. Jackson will face third-seeded Notre Dame for third place at 5 p.m.

"We put the pressure on," Charleston coach Danny Farmer said. "And they're not going to sustain our pace the whole game. We know that, at least we figured that -- that's our game plan. If we can play that same pace for 32 minutes, the other teams can't keep up with the pace and we try to get that pace going."

Jackson’s Karson King shoots over Charleston’s Trey Watkins during the fourth quarter of their semifinal game Saturday at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament at the Show Me Center. Charleston won 72-54. (Laura Simon)

Jackson (6-5) scored the first two points of the second quarter before Charleston (10-1) closed on a 17-4 run to open a 35-22 halftime advantage.

The Bluejays used their patented defense to frustrate the Indians and turn turnovers into easy baskets at the other end.

"Their guards are really good," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "Everybody they play, they force people to turn it over. We had to run our offense from really extended out."

Hull was the main reason the Bluejays were around in the second.

The senior guard was sensational in the opening eight minutes.

Hull netted 13 of his game-high 21 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

"Coach talked about coming out with more intensity," Hull said. "Playing hard and physical."

Added Farmer: "He has the tendency to do that. Right now he's not doing it consistent enough -- I want to see it more often. We have the type of team, I'm about eight or nine deep, and on any night certain guys step it up. Mike stepped up big tonight."

Charleston took an 18-16 advantage after the first quarter as Jackson limited its turnovers and used its inside advantage.

Charleston wore down Jackson in the second.

Six Bluejays scored in the quarter while Jackson only shot 2 of 9.

"We went through a stretch there where we lost our composure for a little bit," Scott said. "Then they made a run, and that's when they pulled the lead out."

The Indians made it difficult for the Bluejays to pull away in the second half.

Jackson outscored Charleston 18-17 in the third quarter to stay in the game.

"I was proud of our effort," Scott said. "I thought we competed hard. It seemed like there was a bunch of plays that were close that we couldn't quite get our hands on."

The Indians turned up their defensive effort in the third quarter, forcing seven Charleston turnovers and cutting the lead to 52-40 entering the fourth.

Charleston managed to stay on top thanks to perfect free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter and the outside shooting of Trey Watkins.

Watkins, a senior shooting guard, added 13 point -- including three 3-pointers.

"It's really nice, it opens up everybody's game too," Watkins said of his ability to knock down 3-pointers. "Ryan [Parham] can drive in and kick it out to me or Mike and hopefully we can knock it down."

The Indians managed to cut the lead to 54-44 with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining on a Blake Reynolds basket, but Jackson never cut the lead to single digits.

Charleston went on an 8-0 run after the Reynolds' layup to seal the win.

"We want to create a gap," Farmer said. "It's dangerous playing too close. If we can create that double-figure cushion, then I feel good."

The Bluejays received the service of all-state senior point guard Ryan Parham, who returned from an ankle and hamstring injury that sidelined him for the first two games of the tournament.

Parham tallied 11 points, with seven coming in the second half.

"His presence on the court -- he's an offense by himself," Farmer said. "He can get the ball where I want it. He knows what we want. He's been point guard for four years, and I'm going to live and die with him."

Karson King led Jackson with 16 points. Reynolds added 10.


JACKSON (54) -- Braxton McDowell 3, Josh Friess 2, Braden Wendel 8, Karson King 16, Connor Shepard 7, Blake Reynolds 10, Brandon Lueders 4, Luke Stevens 4. FG 19, FT 14-18, F 19. (3-pointers: McDowell 1, King 1. Fouled out: None.)

CHARLESTON (72) -- Delfincko Bogan 7, Robert Bogan 4, Ryan Parham 11, Michael Hull 21, Trey Watkins 13, Sumner Foster 7, Shandor Webster 5, Darrion Carter 4. FG 25, FT 18-24, F 16. (3-pointers: Hull 1, Watkins 3. Fouled out: None.)

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