PARK HILLS — The North County Raiders drew the De Soto Dragons as their opening-round opponent for the Central Christmas Tournament, and it was not a good draw for the Raiders as the Dragons were red-hot from the floor, making 60 percent of their shots (30-50) for an 86-60 win.
Even though De Soto was the taller team, the Raiders were not intimidated late in the game as their guards drove the key consistently, challenging the taller defenders. North County’s defense, however, could not deter De Soto’s scoring from outside or inside the arc.
Sean Solomon scored 12 of his 26 points in the first quarter, hitting two threes and also making two steals. Jake Bennett helped patrol the offensive boards for two putbacks in the quarter, and the game soon looked to be a blow-out as the Dragons pulled out to a double-digit lead by the four-minute mark, scoring on nearly every trip down the floor.
Austin Brandon drilled a three to highlight the Raiders’ first quarter. Brandon made four three-pointers in the game to finish with 25 points, the only Raider to score in double figures. He also led in rebounds with seven.
Jonathan Stabenow and Hunter Strange both hit threes in the second quarter for North County (1-6), De Soto’s Kevin Sanders made three of his game’s five in the second quarter.
Dakotah Huff hit a three from the corner to start the third quarter, but De Soto’s 6’9 center Jake Patzner countered as he elevated to answer with a soft touch for a two. Patzner scored 19 in the game with most of his points coming in the third quarter
North County tried to run with De Soto in the third quarter, and what was a basketball game soon resembled a NASCAR style of play as both teams raced with scoring proficiency to combine for 47 points in the quarter.
North County will face Perryville today at 1 p.m. in the consolation bracket. De Soto will meet Crystal City at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal game.
North County 11 15 22 12 – 60
De Soto 25 22 15 14 – 86
North County – Austin Brandon 25, Dakotah Huff 7, Hunter Strange 6, Trent Cassidy 6, Jonathan Stabenow 4, Tyler Cassidy 4, Drew Forbes 4, Levi Clifford 2, Caleb Calloway 2. 3-point FG – Brandon 4, Strange, Huff, Stabenow. (FT: 5-11).
De Soto – Sean Solomon 26, Jake Patzner 19, Kevin Sanders 15, Shawn Leonard 9, Jake Bennett 7, Jeremy Edwards 5, Dominic Bays 5. 3-point FG – Sanders 5, Solomon 2, Leonard, Bays. (FT: 17-25).