Crab Orchard survives Demons' rally
Trojans top Dongola late; Shawnee romps past Joppa; Century edges Thompsonville

CRAB ORCHARD - For fans that expected a big drop off in scoring by the Crab Orchard Trojans this season because of the graduation of Ray Kissing should give that another thought.

His younger brother Tommy has picked up where his brother left off.

This 6-foot-2 junior 'lit up' long-time rival Thompsonville for 30-points while the those Tigers committed 22-turnovers.

That combination resulted in a 63-52 Trojan win on the opening night of the Crab Orchard Thanksgiving Tournament.

Thompsonville (0-1) led for most of the first half until an untimely stretch of bad decisions resulted in seven-consecutive turnovers, turning a 23-18 Tiger advantage into a 32-23 Crab Orchard lead.

Playing without arguably its top player 6-foot-4 junior forward Alex McClerren, who will undergo shoulder surgery next week and will miss the entire 2005-06 season, Thompsonville struggled offensively for most of the night.

"One thing that worried us was when (Trent) Clark wasn't on the floor, who was going to handle it? Unfortunately for us, nobody did," said Thompsonville coach John Robinson. "We have kids that are juniors and seniors but they haven't played much. We have to do a better job handling the ball."

Clark, a 5-foot-11 senior point guard, has been sick and was on the bench when Crab Orchard (1-0) went on their second quarter serge.

But it was Clark who was the big contributor with six points in the first period, which ended at 16-11 Thompsonville.

His drive to the basket gave Thompsonville back the lead 6-5 with 4:37 remaining.

The Tigers appeared ready to make a big run to pull away from Crab Orchard at the end of the first.

Clark scored four points on two trips; a turn around jumper in the lane and two made free throws.

When Ross Heern, a 5-foot-9 junior, scored on a pull-up shot on a fast break, Thompsonville had its largest lead of the night at 16-9 with just :30 before the first horn.

But the Crab Orchard offense, which was struggling early, got rolling in the second quarter.

Curtis Boester (pronounced Beast-er) was a 'beast' in the paint for CO.

This 6-foot-2 junior scored six points in the second quarter.

His offensive rebound put back cut the lead to 16-14 Thompsonville.

"A big key tonight was Curtis Boester, he did everything out there for us including hitting some big shots," Brown explained.

Clark scored five straight points to push the lead back to seven.

He canned a 3-pointer from the left corner, which he followed up with a 3-point attempt from the other side on the next Tiger possession.

But when he missed the attempt, he followed his shot, got the rebound and his stick back made it 21-14 with 4:48 to go before halftime.

But that was the end of the highlight for the first half for Coach Robinson's club.

In that final 4:48, Crab Orchard outscored Thompsonville 18-2.

Turning up the heat with a trapping defensive plan, the Trojans covered up Thompsonville enough to force seven straight turnovers.

In that run, Crab Orchard scored on five of those Tiger miscues.

Five baskets on fast break chances, four by Mr. Kissing.

For good measure, Kissing nailed a pair of 'trifecta.'

In a stroke of numerology irony, Kissing, who wears number 33, hit a 3-pointer from the right side with 3:33 remaining in the quarter.

That shot gave Crab Orchard its first lead since early in the first frame at 24-23.

From that point, the night spun out of control for the Tigers.

Kissing scored the final seven points, twice on steals and fast break scores and then the final first half dagger, another 20-foot bomb from the right wing just before intermission.

That shot sent the teams to the locker room at 32-23 Trojans.

"We went to some trapping stuff in the second quarter to try and generate some quick offense and it worked," said Brown. "We try to speed the game up because we don't have a lot of size and tonight we forced them into some turnovers that got us going. It was a team effort out there tonight."

The Tigers had one good run left in them thanks in part to Heern and his nine points in the quarter.

His final bucket in the run, on an offensive rebound, whittled the lead to 40-37 with 2:37 remaining.

But Kissing answered with another 3-pointer from the left side to push the lead back to six.

He hit the shot of the night right before the third quarter buzzer to essentially put the game out of reach for Thompsonville.

After having the ball stolen away from him by Heern, Kissing made a play near mid-court to get the ball back.

He instinctively turned and put a shot up from near the half court line that went in like an easy 10-footer.

That made the score 51-39 Crab Orchard.

"I thought we were going to be alright when we cut it down to three late in the quarter, but Kissing hit another three and then hit a 45-footer at the end of the quarter that hurt us." added Robinson.

The Tigers could get no closer than 11-points the rest of the way.
Kissing polished off Thompsonville by hitting 7-of-8 free throws in the final eight minutes.

Both teams shot pretty well for the first contest of the season.

Crab Orchard was 24-of-58 from the field, 5-of-13 from behind the arc while Thompsonville shot 22-of-56, 2-of-8 from 3-point range.

The Tigers held a 39-26 rebounding edge.

But it was the turnovers by Thompsonville that gave the Trojans too many easy opportunities.

"We did a better job offensively in the second half but we stood around a lot," said Robinson. "We really don't have a 'go-to' guy right now. We didn't have anyone cutting to the ball or creating out there tonight. Without McClerren on the floor and with Clark not feeling well, we don't really have anyone who can create shots."

Both teams are back in action on Tuesday.

Thompsonville tackles Dongola at 6:30 pm while Crab Orchard takes on Century at 8 pm. The other game Tuesday night is Joppa and Shawnee at 5 pm.

Other finals from Monday night, Joppa topped Dongola, 54-51, and Century outlasted Shawnee 51-49.

Crab Orchard

Thompsonvile (52) - Clark 4 1 2-2 13, Dial 4 0 1-4 9, D. Fisher 4 0 3-3 9, Heern 7 1 0-0 15, Sickmeyer 0 0 0-0 0, Gaither 0 0 0-0 0, J. Fisher 1 0 0-0 2, Browning 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-20, 3FG-2, FT-6-9, PF-16.
Crab Orchard (63) - McCree 3 1 3-4 12, Duty 2 0 0-0 4, Boester 7 0 1-1 15, Brainard 0 0 0-2 0, T. Kissing 6 4 6-7 30, G. Pierce 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-19, 3FG-5, FT-10-14, PF-11.
Fouled Out - None.
Technical Fouls - None.