Hilltoppers close out Chase's season
Chase's Shad Blanton did all he could to advance his Trojans to the semifinal of the SMAC tournament, but 24 first-half points weren't enough to hold off the R-S Central Hilltoppers who used a strong second half to claim a 79-56 home win Monday night.
Shad Blanton started his takeover just 90 seconds into the game when he drained his forst 3 of the game giving Chase an early 5-3 lead. Blanton scored seven of the Trojans’ 13 points in the quarter, which was enough to lead his team to a 13-8 lead heading in the second frame.
"We were stagnant in the first quarter offensively," Central head coach Greg Wright said. "We weren't moving the ball, we weren't rotating...that's why we were 3-13 from the floor in the quarter."
The second quarter featured more offense for each team and Blanton.
Jay Blanton entered the game for Central after riding the bench the entire first quarter and hit two quick 3s to being Central to within 3 at 17-14 with 6:45 left in the half.
"[Jay Blanton] came in and made his first couple shots that he caught in rhythm," Wright said. "The ability to make shots from outside is what eventually opened up opportunities to get the ball inside. We became a much more balanced team."
The remainder of the half belonged to Shad Blanton.
Shad Blanton nailed five 3s in the quarter en route to 17 total points. At one point he scored 12 straight points for Chase. Unfortunately, that was about all the Trojans had going their way.
"We led him flash out and get a wide-open look, and with good shooters you can't let that happen," Wright said.
At the break Chase held a 38-31 advantage.
"We played tough in the first half. We moved the ball and made some shots," Chase head coach Joe Jessen said. "It always helps when you make shots."
Central opened the third quarter on a 16-9 run capped by a Jay Blanton 3 to put the Hilltoppers up 47-46, their first lead since 3-2.
Jaylen Hollis and Rashaun Whitesides manned the post for the Hilltoppers as they finished the quarter with a 56-50 lead.
"We did a much better job getting the ball to the high post," Wright said. "It opens up the floor when we do that."
Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Central lead doubled to 12, 66-54.
The Trojan offense couldn't get back in rhythm and the Hilltoppers closed out the 79-56 victory.
"In the second half we played too much one-on-one," Jessen said. "They keyed in on Shad [Blanton] and shut him down for the most part."
"We talked at halftime about really putting pressure on [Shad Blanton]," Wright said. "We wanted every shot he took to be contested or off the dribble. We didn't want him to have spot-up looks."
Central was paced by Jay Blanton's 21 points while Whitesides and Hollis added 18 and 13 respectively.
Shad Blanton led all scorers with 32.
Central moves on to face Shelby in the semifinals Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Shelby High School.
R-S Central 79, Chase 56
RSC^8^23^25^23 -- 79
Chase^13^25^12^6 -- 56