Posted On: 02/23/18 3:00 PM
Southeast Missouri rivals Charleston and Malden met for the Class 3, District 1 championship at New Madrid County Central on Thursday night. The two teams met on Feb. 6 with Charleston taking an exciting 81-79 victory in double overtime. Second-seeded Malden jumped to a quick 9-0 only to see the top-seeded Bluejays respond quickly to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter. Charleston took control of the game from there and held off a late Malden rally to take a 60-52 victory, which was their ninth district championship in 10 years.
Here are five takeaways from Charleston vs. Malden:
The 6’4″ 2018 forward of Charleston is one of the smoothest post players in the state of Missouri. Clark scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Bluejays. He is virtually unstoppable within 15 feet of the basket with his offensive moves and shooting touch around the basket. He is mobile and active and he can finish around the basket as well as anyone I’ve seen. Clark is also an excellent offensive rebounder.
The 6’2″ 2019 guard was one of the big stars of the game with the defensive job he did on Malden’s excellent guard DuShawn Butler, limiting him to 12 points. Porter did a great job of shadowing Butler all over the floor, making it difficult for him to get touches and great looks at the basket. It was no small feat because Butler can really score.
Despite scoring only 12 points, the 5’9″ Butler his dynamic ability to score, especially in the first quarter when the Eagles jumped out to the early lead. He is quick and plays with excellent pace with the ability to stop on the dime and knock down jumpers. He scored 31 points in Malden’s victory over East Prairie in the semifinals.
The Bluejays are at their best when they can get up and down the court and run. After a slow start, they clamped down on the defensive end and started to create turnovers. When that happens, the Bluejays can score in bunches, which helped them take control in the middle two quarters of the game. They are lighting quick in transition at all five positions.
The Bluejays have been a perennial contender in Class 3 for many decades and this year is no different. They have two prime-time performers in Clark and 2018 guard Demarcus Sharp to lead the way, plus a good supporting cast of kids with good speed and quickness to keep the defense going at a high tempo.
(Mardaryeon Clark photo courtesy of Chris Pobst, of the Standard Democrat/Semoball)