Caruthersville's No. 21 Darrell Monroe takes a one-handed shot.
MALDEN, Mo. - The Caruthersville Tigers varsity boys basketball team leaped ahead of the Malden Green Wave in the Bootheel Conference regular-season standings Thursday night with a 73-67 road win at Malden.
Caruthersville outscored Malden by 14 points in the first half to build a 38-24 lead by halftime. Malden won the second half by eight points, but never trailed by less than five in the final 16 minutes of regulation.
"We really played sloppy," Caruthersville first-year coach Tim Smith said. "We were very weak on our defense. We are improving our offense some, but we've got work to do."
Caruthersville moves into outright third place in the regular-season conference standings with the victory. Malden drops into a tie for fourth place with South Pemiscot following the loss. Caruthersville is currently 2-2 in regular-season conference play and Malden is 1-2.
"We had some holes in our defense down low," Malden coach Yevgeny Sokolov said of the loss. "It was kind of tough working against the Monroe kid. He did a really good job posting up down low. The second half we did a better job fronting him and getting him out of his comfort zone. That's when we started coming back a little bit. We started pushing the ball better, getting more steals and rebounding the ball a little bit."
Malden led the game 6-5 with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter before Caruthersville went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-6 lead with 3:27 left in the first period. The Tigers never trailed after.
"We had a good start," Smith said. "We just had a number of mental breakdowns. We need to extend a lead when we get one. We are letting teams hang around and you cannot let a Malden team that works hard at home hang around."
Malden cut the deficit to 56-51 with 6:21 left in regulation. Caruthersville scored the next four points following a Tigers' timeout to increase its lead to 60-51 with 5:25 remaining. Malden never got back within five points until it cut the deficit to 72-67 with 12 seconds left.
The Tigers had seven players score.
Darrell Monroe calculated 25 points for Caruthersville. He scored 10 points in the first quarter and 12 points in the fourth quarter.
"He's just an awesome athlete," Smith said. "We didn't get him the ball at certain times in the game. When he gets the ball nobody in southeast Missouri can stop him."
Steve Rodgers tallied 16 points for the Tigers and Coleman Tramble contributed 11 more.
Cortez Dobbins and Romello McCoy paced Malden's offense with 23 points each. Malik Perkins hit all three of Malden 3-pointers on his way to a 15-point night.
"We usually have three guys averaging double-digits," Sokolov said. "It's usually the same guys that scored tonight. On a given night you never know who is going to go off, but when those three guys score we have a close game or win."
Caruthersville blistered Malden 73-37 in the junior varsity contest.
Caruthersville is back in action Dec. 26 at 11:30 a.m. when it takes on Munford, Tenn., in the Dyersburg Tournament. Caruthersville won the tournament last season.
"They draw the teams out of a hat," Smith said of the Dyersburg Tournament. "We just happen to be playing one of the best teams in Tennessee the first round. Luckily that's the way it happened."
Malden returns to action Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. when it takes on Bloomfield in the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament. Malden is seeded No. 8 in the 16-team tournament and Bloomfield is seeded No. 9.
Sokolov has already started gathering information on his first-round opponent at the four-day double-elimination tournament.
"I think we match up very good with those guys," Sokolov said of Bloomfield. "I did a little study on them. They are quick and move the ball around pretty well. They push the ball and shoot a lot of 3's. It's something I believe we can handle defensively. Overall, I think we will match up well with their guys."
View a box score for the varsity game and the regular-season Bootheel Conference standings heading into the Christmas break below:
Malden's No. 15 Jeremy Jones and Caruthersville's No. 3 Steve Rodgers watch Malden's No. 23 Cortez Dobbins glide to the basket. [Order this photo]
CHS 20 18 15 20 - 73
MHS 12 12 18 25 - 67
CARUTHERSVILLE (73) - Jamal Johnson 9, Steve Rodgers 16, Cortez Gooden 2, Darrell Monroe 25, Tyler Grissom 7, Coleman Tramble 11, Myron Woods 3. FG 28, FT 14/27, F 21. (3-pointers: Rodgers 2, Johnson 1. Fouled out: Tramble)
MALDEN (67) - Malik Perkins 15, Gunner Jones 2, Jeremy Jones 2, Edwin Hale 2, Cortez Dobbins 23, Romello McCoy 23. FG 27, FT 10/19, F 20. (3-pointers: Perkins 3. Fouled out: none)
Bootheel Conference Varsity Boys Basketball Regular-Season Standings:
T1. Hayti (3-0)
T1. Kennett (3-0)
3. Caruthersville (2-2)
T4. Malden (1-2)
T4. South Pemiscot (1-2)
T6. Portageville (0-2)
T6. Senath-Hornersville (0-2)