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Advance, Bernie, Bloomfield all produce victories

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ADVANCE, Mo. -- The Advance boys basketball team thought it let one slip away against Scott County Central during the championship game of last month's Oran tournament.

The Hornets made sure that didn't happen in Tuesday night's rematch.

The squads waged their second well-played thriller in less than two weeks, Advance coming out on top this time with a heart-stopping 79-78 home win.

"You get two good teams competing. ... It turned into a good game," Advance coach Andrew Halford said.

That's an understatement.

There were 24 lead changes and six ties. SCC's biggest lead was seven points early in the fourth quarter. Advance's largest advantage was five points late in the second period.

"It was great," Advance senior forward Ethan Barr said. "We played them close last time [losing 75-71]. We expected to beat them this time."

There were 16 lead changes in the second half, including three in the final 50 seconds.

Senior forward Trey Wallace scored inside with 50 seconds left to put Advance up 77-76.

The drama was just beginning.

Junior guard Larandis Banks drove for a basket with 25 seconds remaining as the Braves surged back in front 78-77.

Barr was fouled as he tried to power his way toward the bucket and went to the line for a 1-and-1 with 14 seconds left.

Barr's free throw bounced off the rim -- and the 6-foot-4 Wallace was there to put the ball back in the basket with 11 seconds left as Advance fans went wild.

"I just did what I was always taught to do, go hard for the ball," Wallace said. "I saw the ball in the air and went up and got it."

SCC senior guard Jaylen Porter was off on a 3-pointer but the Braves were still down only a point after Advance junior guard Lane Below missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with three seconds remaining.

Porter's desperation half-court shot banked off the backboard and appeared to go halfway into the cylinder before bouncing out.

"I was worried," Wallace said of Porter's final attempt.

The Hornets (5-1) stormed the court after beating the four-time defending Class 1 state champion Braves (3-3) for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

"Any time you beat Scott County Central you've done something pretty good," Below said. "They played great. We just came out with the win."

Both sides performed well during the hard-fought contest played in front of a big crowd that featured Advance's noisy pep band.

"The crowd really pumped us up," Below said. "I love playing good competition like Scott County Central."

Below led the Hornets with 26 points, 15 coming on five 3-pointers. Wallace scored 19 points and the 6-foot-4 Barr added 16 as the Hornets benefited from a significant size advantage.

Banks and Porter, the only players who saw much varsity action on last season's state title squad -- both as starters -- scored 25 and 22 points, respectively.

"We have a lot of inexperience. It's great playing in these types of games," SCC coach Frank Staple said. "Advance is a good team, well coached. Playing at (their) home ... we knew it would be tough."

Staple lamented some little things that hurt the Braves, including allowing Wallace a clear path to his winning put-back in the closing seconds.

"For us it came down to a box out," Staple said.

There were eight lead changes and four ties during an opening half that ended with Advance on top 38-37. Below scored 20 first-half points.

The third quarter featured 11 lead changes and two ties. Banks' 3-pointer with four seconds left sent the Braves to the final period ahead 64-59.

A follow shot by junior forward Kendall Blissett 45 seconds into the fourth quarter put SCC up 68-61 for the night's biggest advantage.

Advance then began to stiffen defensively, which Halford thought was crucial.

"I think we did a better job when they got the seven-point lead," Halford said. "We got some stops on defense."

Advance, trailing 70-65, used an 8-0 run go up 73-70 with just under three minutes left. Barr scored the final four points of the spurt as the Hornets gained their biggest lead of the final half.

"The last few minutes we buckled up defensively," Barr said.

SCC recovered to regain a three-point advantage at 76-73, setting the stage for the thrilling finish.

"We just have a good group of guys that want to win ballgames and compete," Halford said. "As a coach, that's enjoyable."

Bernie 77, Woodland 34

The undefeated Bernie Mules (6-0) built a 46-15 lead at halftime and proved to be too much to handle for the host Cardinals.

BJ Jennings paced the Mules with a game-high 20 points while Devon Ritter paced Woodland (1-5) with seven points.

"We got solid play up and down our line-up tonight (Tuesday)," Bernie coach Brad Botsch commented. "We still have many things to work on to play at the level I think that we are capable of, and with hard work, we will continue to improve. This group is competing hard and we will continue to work on some things to help us improve."

Bernie had four players score in double figures.

Bloomfield 67, Doniphan 50

Bloomfield used a balanced scoring attack to overcome the 37-point effort of Doniphan's Brian Patterson to pick up the win.

Caleb Baker led the Wildcats with 17 points, followed by Thomas Sanders with 14 and Brett Ruch with 11.

Oak Ridge 72,Bell City 41

Oak Ridge built a 57-21 lead at halftime to pick up the win at home.

Ryan Below led with 21 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Blue Jays (5-1). Kelby Brown added 15 points, while Ethan Seyer recorded six assists and six steals for Oak Ridge.

Jerad Yates paced Bell City (0-5) with nine points.

Notre Dame 60,

New Madrid 57

Quinn Poythress scored 18 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Bulldogs to victory on the road.

Cody Debrock added 16 points, including two 3-pointers, while Tanner Shively netted 10 points for Notre Dame (2-3).


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