The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 22, 2014

Joplin players divide scoring load, romp to victory against Neosho

Joplin Eagles standout Charlie Brown was limited to six points in the first half, but it was of little concern to the Eagles.

With its leading scorer being held in check, Joplin’s supporting cast directed the Eagles to a 31-16 halftime lead en route to a 60-39 win over Neosho on Tuesday night at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.

Joplin (9-3) finished the game with a balanced attack as three players scored in double figures and five contributed seven points or more.

“It was the focus to get everyone involved,” said Joplin junior guard Carlos Santillan, who scored 13 points. “They were playing Charlie real tight, and we knew we all had to contribute. Neosho is a good team. We knew we had to come in focused and not just rely on Charlie.”

It’s not like Brown had a bad night as he still led the Eagles with 17 points and several assists. However, Joplin’s ability to spread the wealth was encouraging.

Joplin senior center Spencer Layne added 10 points, including a strong two-handed dunk in the first quarter. Senior forward Dillon McVay contributed nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“Spencer and Dillon both played well,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “We want our bigs to score about 20 points together. I’m pleased with their progress.

“There were a lot of things tonight that made us feel better. Charlie wasn’t scoring early, and we were still extending the lead.”

Neosho’s Lukas Werneke scored on a drive to cut Joplin’s lead to 15-11 late in the first quarter. The Eagles responded with an 11-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer, a three-point play and a jumper from Santillan. By the time the run was over, Joplin led the Wildcats 26-14 with 3:32 left in the second quarter.

A 3-pointer by sophomore guard Carter Smith helped give Joplin a 31-16 halftime lead.

In the second half, Brown got more involved in the offense. The senior guard, who is receiving interest from NCAA Division I schools, scored seven points in the third quarter to help Joplin push its lead to 48-23.

Sophomore Darrian Guillory led Neosho with 16 points, while Werneke added 10.

Joplin will open play in the Ralph Miller Classic at Chanute, Kan., at 4:45 p.m. Thursday against Topeka Shawnee Heights. Joplin is the only non-Kansas school in the tournament as the rest of the brackets consists of Shawnee Mission South, Goddard, Olathe North, Andover Central, Emporia and Chanute.

“Shawnee Heights beat us in the first round last year,” Williams said. “They’re a good team. We’re looking forward to a rematch.

“This tournament will give our team a chance to travel and to bond. It will be good competition, and it’s good to see different competition that we won’t see any other time this season.”

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