The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 21, 2013

Eagles' defense shuts down Webb City

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Joplin held Webb City scoreless for nearly the last four minutes of the third quarter as the Eagles pulled away for a 56-39 victory Friday night in a nonconference game.

Joplin allowed just three field goals in the third period and turned a 24-18 halftime lead into a 43-26 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

“That was the critical part of the game,” said Joplin head coach Jeff Williams. “We got a good push and we were able to sustain it to the end. Those are good signs for this team.”

Charlie Brown scored 11 of his 30 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer that gave Joplin a 39-26 lead with 1:39 remaining. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense created scoring opportunities.

“We got a couple of five-second stops. That’s where we really pushed the lead,” said Keiondre Adams, a 6-foot senior who scored seven of his nine points in the second half and made five of six free throws.

“We just had to keep them out of the paint and step up our defense,” he said. “Our defense set up our offense.”

Webb City cut the lead to 51-38 in the fourth quarter on two free throws by Zach Hallacy, who led the Cardinals with 12 points. The Cardinals then scored one point in the last three minutes.

“We’ve struggled to score,” said Webb City head coach Landon Cornish. “When we go a couple of possessions without getting a basket, it’s hard against a talented player.

“He (Brown) has taken another step in his game, to me. He doesn’t turn the ball over. Traps don’t bother him. He takes good shots. If anything, he should take more shots.”

Brown sank four 3-pointers and was 14 of 16 from the free-throw line.  Spencer Layne, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored eight points, and Carlos Santillan added five points, including a 3-pointer that gave the Eagles a 20-14 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Webb City’s only lead was 4-3 on a basket inside by Tayler Arterburn, and the first quarter ended in a 5-5 tie. Brown scored 13 points as the Eagles outscored Webb City 19-13 in the second period.

The Eagles used their defense to establish the tempo in the second half. “That’s the hard thing to understand,” Williams said. “That’s the part of our game that has to be the heart and soul of Joplin. Playing defense consistently will get the offense going.”

Webb City cut Joplin’s lead to 32-26 on a steal and layup by Tyson Roderique with 3:44 left in the third quarter, but Joplin countered with an 11-0 run that included two free throws by Adams and nine points by Brown, including a buzzer-beating basket on a clear-out play at the end of the quarter.

“I think the only thing that can stop Charlie Brown is Charlie Brown,” Williams said.

Joplin, 4-1, is scheduled to play Seneca at 3 p.m. today in the third-place game of the Carthage Invitational Tournament, weather permitting. Webb City will play McDonald County at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Neosho Holiday Classic.

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