Central avoids a repeat, closes its own Shootout with a bang

Sunday, January 12, 2003

A day after blowing a 10-point halftime lead in a loss to Kennett, Central's boys basketball team was in danger of dropping a 13-point haltime lead to Jennings in the final game of the Tiger Shootout Saturday at Central High School.

Up by two heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers (10-4) slowed their offense, hit nine of 10 free throws and shook off a pesky Warriors squad for a 78-69 victory.

In the earlier games of the eighth annual single-day event, Lindbergh defeated Jackson 62-45, Vianney beat Notre Dame 49-42 and Oran defeated Fredericktown 62-57.

Central's game Saturday nearly mirrored a loss to Kennett, at least early on. Central and Jennings (7-7) went back and forth in the first quarter with neither team taking hold. Jennings' scoring trio of Mark Stovall, Sanijay Watts and Matthew Akins carried the load for the Warriors, scoring 29 of the Warriors' 31 first half points.

While Jennings got its scoring from expected players -- Stovall and Watts are its two leading scorers -- Central turned to unlikely sources. Central got 14 of its 20 second- quarter points from its bench and grabbed a 44-31 halftime lead.

"We're seniors, so we're supposed to step up," said Central's Willie Colon, who combined with another senior reserve, Jay Ruark, for 16 first-half points.

Watts, only a freshman, came up big for the Warriors in the third. Watts scored eight points and helped Jennings outscore the Tigers 22-11 to pull within two points after three quarters.

"It felt like it was going to be deja vu," Colon said referring to Friday's late collapse.

After taking several unlikely shots down the stretch Friday, the Tigers kept their cool Saturday. Central worked its offense and made the Warriors send them to the line.

"We kept our composure today, and that was crucial for us," Tigers coach Derek McCord said.

Jennings pulled within four points early in the fourth but could get no closer as the Tigers hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch.

Mitch Craft led the Tigers with 13 points. Ryan Delph and Scott Chestnutt added 12 apiece, and Ruark had a season-high 10.

Ruark said he played a relaxed game and let hard work come to the surface.

"I've been putting a little too much pressure on myself this year," he said.

Jennings was led by Akins with 22 points. Watts added 18, and Stovall had 15.

McCord said the Tigers 1-1 weekend is indicative of their season so far.

"It's been up and down," he said. "When you have a young team it's going to be a season of ups and downs."

Lindbergh 62, Jackson 45

For Jackson, this weekend keeps getting worse.

The Indians' losing streak stretched to three games -- including two losses in less than 24 hours -- after they fell 62-45 to Lindbergh of St. Louis in the Tiger Shootout's noon game Saturday.

"Everyone in that lockerroom is kind of sick right now," Jackson senior guard Tyler Boyd said.

Sick from a frustrating loss, sick of losing and most of all just plain sick. The Indians (6-6) battled an illness that spread through the team all week. Boyd was a victim of the bug, too.

"It wasn't so much of a factor today as it was Friday night. But I think we're on the downside of that now -- hopefully," Jackson coach Mike Kiehne said.

The Indians were coming off a loss at home to Poplar Bluff on Friday. Kiehne saw what looked like a fresh Jackson team in the pregame, but it wore down quickly against the Flyers.

"I thought we approached it well," Kiehne said.

Lindbergh's quick pace style didn't help Jackson. The Flyers (6-6) took off early and held a 21-9 first-quarter lead by taking advantage of Jackson mistakes.

"That's what we do, and that was imperative we get that done today," Lindbergh coach Ken Libby said.

The lead stretched to 14 at halftime. Chris Geisz helped cushion the lead with 12 points in the first half.

At the start of the second half the Indians settled in and began to play a more control-style game that included more Lindbergh turnovers, but that momentum faded fast.

"After a while fatigue took its toll. It was like a heavyweight fighting a lightweight," Kiehne said.

Still, the Indians were outscored by only three in the second half and trailed 31-28.

"We hung tough, but they have some good players that stepped up and hit shots for them," Kiehne said.

Geisz led Lindbergh with 18 and Faerber finished with 10. Tyler McNeely had 12 points for the Indians and Jason Schafer added 10.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves, but it's just a tough loss," Boyd said.

-- David Wilson

Vianney 49, Notre Dame 42

In a game that featured seven lead changes in the second half, the Griffins of Vianney used a 12-4 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull away from Notre Dame in the second game of the Shootout.

The first half was a defensive battle. Notre Dame (7-4) and Vianney (9-4) each put pressure on nearly every shot and kept each other off the foul line. When the halftime buzzer sounded it was Notre Dame clinging to a 19-17 lead.

Vianney coach Kevin Walsh said the Bulldogs strong defense kept his Eagles from being able to push the ball down the court early on.

"They really did a good job of controlling the tempo," he said.

The second half saw both offenses come to life. Griffins guard Paul Paradoski, the team's second-leading scorer, started to make things happen for Vianney with his dribble penetration. Paradoski's dribbling helped free up Vianney's inside players, with Brandon Beal and Rich Henschel picking up 17 points between them.

"We kind of started to flow on offense," Walsh said.

Notre Dame's offense also picked up the pace. The Bulldogs attacked the basket with their guards, opening shots for players like Wayne Essner and Matt Wulfers, who combined for 10 points in the third.

"I think we made a little adjustment, we started attacking the basket," Notre Dame coach Darrin Scott said.

The Griffins used a couple of late baskets to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took the lead on a Travis Siebert jumper with 5:35 left, but Beal put the Griffins back up for good at 35-34 with a bucket down low.

Notre Dame was able to pull within two one last time, but Vianney scored seven straight points to push the lead to nine with less than two minutes left.

"We kind of rushed some shots," Scott said. "They've got quick hands. They get their hands on a lot of shots."

Tyler Cuba, who scored six points for the Bulldogs, said the Bulldogs just didn't have the same spark in the second half.

"I just think our intensity was down in the second half compared to the first," he said.

Beal and Henschel led the way for Vianney with 11 points apiece. Paradoski had 10. Siebert led the Bulldogs with 13 points.

Scott said losing center Cory Beussink to fouls midway through the fourth was a big blow to the Bulldogs.

"He does a good job in the post for us," Scott said.

The Bulldogs have four games this week though, and Scott said his team will need to pick it up on offense.

"We just have to do a better job offensively and we'll be all right," he said.

-- Jeremy Joffray

Oran 62, Fredericktown 57

Fredericktown took a lead late into the third quarter before Oran recovered for a win in the day's third game.

Blackcats guard Micah Reutzel hit a couple of deep 3-pointers to help Fredericktown (6-7) jump to an 8-0 lead. Oran (7-5) battled back and took its first lead at 21-19 on a basket from its sixth man, Patrick Friga.

The teams jockeyed back and forth in the third quarter with neither pulling away. Reutzel's 3-pointer at the end of the quarter pulled the Blackcats to within four, but Oran scored the first four baskets of the fourth quarter to pull out to a 51-39 lead.

Oran never looked back, and cruised to the win despite a half-court three-pointer by Reutzel at the buzzer to bring the final margin to five.

Nathan Seyer and Ryne Wood carried the offense for the Eagles. Seyer led the way with 22, and Wood was sharp from the floor, hitting four three-pointers on his way to a 20 point outing. Friga added 10 points.

Reutzel led Fredericktown with 17 points, including five three-pointers. D. J. Hinkle added 11.

-- Jeremy Joffray

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