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Oran sprints past SCC for tournament crown
By JOHN UNTERREINER ~ Southeast Missourian
MORLEY, Mo. -- The second half of the Scott-Mississippi Conference Tournament championship showdown between Oran and Scott County Central was more coronation than basketball game.
And for the first time in six years, somebody other than the Braves are wearing the crown.
Top-seeded Oran pulled away in the second quarter and blitzed the six-time defending champion Braves 90-64 to claim the title.
"We know we didn't play very well against Chaffee, and part of that was the defense Chaffee played," Oran coach Joe Shoemaker said about Thursday's semifinal victory. "Their kids came out and I could see in their eyes in the beginning that they were ready to play.
"We knew Scott County was going to come out with a lot of intensity and effort, and I thought we did a better job of playing with some urgency and being smarter with the basketball."
The only hard decision Shoemaker, whose squad improved to 16-2 with its second lopsided win over Scott County Central this season, had to make was which one of his stars got the game ball.
Option number one was Seth Ressel, the Eagle's point guard.
Ressel was flawless in pouring in 21 points and controlled the tempo of the game.
Option number two was Alex Heuring, the team's lone post presence.
The 6-foot-4 senior center seemed to control every rebound and poured in 19 points, overcoming a scary ankle injury at the start of the second half.
The final option was Kody Moore.
Moore put on a shooting display that rivals any.
The senior guard tallied a game-high 31 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field (69 percent), including a 6 of 11 (55 percent) from 3-point range.
"It was a complete team effort," Shoemaker said. "You know, we hadn't practiced well this week and we have eight guys dressed out. One hurts his ankle before the game starts so we are down to seven, and then Jacob Priggel got his shoulder hurt in the first half and [Heuring] has a bad ankle, but they battled through with mental toughness.
"I am proud of the kids, we stuck with the game plan and they played hard."
Moore set the tone early. He buried four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, never missing a shot.
"It's always a great feeling, getting a great rhythm going from the start," Moore said. "I was feeling it tonight."
Scott County Central (9-9) managed to weather Moore's strong start and held a 26-24 advantage after the first quarter.
It was the last memory the second-seeded Braves will want of the game.
Oran took control in the second and never looked back.
"We realized that this is their home court and we need to make a statement," Ressel said. "So that's what we did."
Heuring scored eight of his 19 points in the decisive quarter and controlled the paint on both ends. Oran outscored Scott County Central 24-8 in the quarter to take a comfortable 48-34 lead into halftime.
"Well, we knew that they were smaller than me down low, and we knew if we kept attacking things would just finally open up," Heuring said. "When they fed me the ball down low they didn't collapse, and I took advantage of that. ... I am the only big man on the team so I really have to step up my game on rebounding. I'm not saying my team can't rebound, but I really have to do a good job and make sure I put our team in the best position to win."
The Eagles were 9 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half.
"We were just feeling it tonight," said Ressel, who hit four 3-pointers in the game. "Yesterday, Kody [Moore] hit well, but I don't think me or Chance [Tenkhoff] hit very well. Tonight we came out and we knew we had to make shots definitely, so that's what we did."
Scott County Central appeared to catch a break in the opening seconds of the third quarter.
Heuring went up for a shot and came down awkwardly on his ankle and was writhing in pain on the floor.
The senior was helped off the court and didn't return until four minutes later.
The Braves failed to capatalize.
Larandis Banks hit a bucket for Scott County Central before Oran went on a 14-4 run to put the game away.
Priggel hit a basket for Oran that was countered with a basket by the Braves' Jeffery Porter.
Then Moore and Ressel stepped up.
The duo nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, and Moore added another basket before Hunter Scholosser and Priggel capped the run off with baskets.
"They obviously figured out we were shooting well so they got tighter on the 3-point line, not letting us have as much," Moore said. "We capitalized on when they would come up and belly up. We were able to go around them and just ran our offense through and through. We just kept running and finally we would see a slot and we could run in there hit an open shot whenever we could get in there and penetrate."
By the time the damage was done Oran had extended its 14-point halftime lead to 75-50 heading into the fourth.
"That's one of the things we talked about," Shoemaker said. "Not necessarily making shots, but limiting their runs and trying to go on some of our own. It's a fine line when they get that tempo up. That's where Scott County likes it, but I think our guys played really smart tonight."
When the smoke cleared it was the Eagles holding the first-place trophy -- a joyous sight for Oran fans.
"It's great," Moore said. "It's leading up to how I want my senior year to end, but the year is definitely not over. Its nowhere near to where I want it to get."
The Braves, who lost to Oran by 30 points at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament, was paced by Banks with 25 points.
Also in double figures for the Braves were Jeffery Porter with 16 points and Jaylen Porter with 12.
ORAN (90) -- Seth Ressel 21, Kody Moore 31, Chance Tenkhoff 7, Alex Heuring 19, Jacob Priggel 6, Hunter Schlosser 4, Cash Kinney 2. FG 36, FT 7-17, F 14. (3-pointers: Ressel 4, Moore 6, Tenkhoff. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT COUNTY CENTRAL (64) -- Jaylen Porter 12, Tyler Masters 4, Jeffery Porter 16, Kendall Blissett 5, Larandis Banks 25, Chris Brown 2. FG 24, FT 12-18, F 18. (3-pointers: Ja. Porter, Je. Porter 2, Banks. Fouled out: none.)