Caruthersville holds off South Pemiscot to advance to semi-finals
The Caruthersville Tigers knocked off the South Pemiscot Bulldogs 100-85 Tuesday night in an up-tempo game where the Bulldogs found themselves short their starting point-guard for a half.
Both teams jumped out of the gate going basket for basket on fastbreaks, while each team also employed a full-court press.
South Pem had the edge early with Jordan Carter getting some quick turnovers and Tyler Thompson knocking down shots.
Claude Taylor factored in underneath for Caruthersville controlling the boards and getting some put-backs to pull the Tigers back even mid-way through the first.
The Tigers started to open a small lead towards the end of the period with Elbie Fonda doing a good job of finding open men for easy shots.
James Hollywood (23) made some big contributions from the field and on the boards to keep the Bulldogs in striking distance going into the second quarter with Caruthersville leading 29-23.
South Pem would suffer a big loss in the opening minute of the second period when starting point-guard Tyler Thompson received a technical foul after questioning a non-foul call. Per South Pem's rules, Thompson had to sit out two quarters for the technical.
"We lost our point-guard," said South Pemiscot coach James Carlisle. "He had to set out two quarters for that technical foul. It's a school rule. Thompson is our floor general, he does everything we have to do. He takes care of the ball for us, makes good passes and good decisions. Without him on the court we just fall apart."
In the wake of Thompson's absence, Caruthersville, who was starting to get into a groove defensively before the technical, steadily started to open up a lead.
At the time of Thompson's departure, the Tigers held a 10-point lead. In the next two minutes they stretched it out to a 15-point lead when South Pem started playing a little sloppy trying to break the press. Caruthersville almost encountered a set-back when their big man Claude Taylor was fouled hard to the ground and was removed from the game until one minute left in the half, but the Tigers really stepped up by staying in control of the boards.
South Pem did a good job of sticking with their pressure defense to stop the bleeding and not let the lead get any bigger going into the half.
At the break Caruthersville held a 15-point lead (51-36)
In the second half South Pem took over the rebounding game from the Tigers and started to close the gap a little.
"We did a really good job on the boards in the first half," said Caruthersville coach David Heeb. "I thought in the second half we kind of let up a little bit. You have to give South Pem credit for that. They never quit playing, they played hard all the way to the end. Even when Thompson got the technical they didn't get bothered by it."
The Bulldogs efforts wouldn't be enough to overcome Caruthersville though as the Tigers re-gained their 15-point lead and held it for the rest of the game as they hung 100-points on the scoreboard to eliminate South Pem from the tournament.
Caruthersville had four players get into double digits in scoring. Vohland Fonda led the way with 22-points. David Shaw racked up 20, James Hollywood (32) put in 15 and Elbie Fonda finished up with 14-points.
South Pem also had 4 players get into double digits in scoring. James Hollywood (23) led the Bulldogs with 29-points. Preston Wilbourn totaled 20, Jordan Johnson finished with 12 and Taylor Thompson put in 10.
Caruthersville will take on Portageville Thursday night in the semifinals of the Bootheel Conference Tournament.
"Coach Heeb has done a great job over there," said Carlisle. "He's got them ready to play and they're gonna make a run for it, I think. If not this year, the next couple of years. I've been around him a lot and he's been like a mentor."
Coach Heeb said "You have to give coach Carlisle a lot of credit. It's his first year down there and they've improved about as much as anybody I've seen this year from the beginning to the end. He's done a great job."