After keeping a strong lead all four quarters, the Smith-Cotton Tigers defeated the Battle Spartans 68-32 in the Marshall Invitational Basketball Tournament championship game Saturday afternoon.
S-C’s defense led the charge the entire game, limiting Battle to less than 10 points in the first, second and fourth quarters, while S-C scored 15, 13 and 20, respectively. The Tigers went into halftime leading 28-12.
“We were concentrating on our defense (going into this game) and we knew if we could get stops on defense we’d have a good chance to win,” said S-C coach Brennan Scanlon. “Defense was great. That’s what won us the game. Couldn’t be more proud of them. The guys played really well.”
Dante Scroggins led S-C with 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. Zion Buckner added 17 points and five assists and Chance Johnson contributed 10 points and four rebounds. While the Tigers had multiple high-scoring players, Battle failed to have a single player score in double digits. D’mon Nickens led Battle with eight points.
“We just wanted to keep getting better,” Scanlon said. “We had that lead at halftime and we just wanted to come into the second half thinking the score was 0-0. Our goal is to win every quarter, so we weren’t really concerned about the score, we just wanted to keep improving, keep getting stops and I’m just really proud of our guys.”
S-C won first place in the tournament after wins over Grain Valley on Monday and Kirksville on Thursday. Both Johnson and Scroggins were named to the All-Tournament team.
After winning the Marshall Tournament, the Tigers are starting their 2015-16 season undefeated at 4-0 and will face Hickman at home at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“It should be a fun game,” Scanlon said. “They knocked us out of districts last year and our guys are looking forward to playing them.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.