EPC defeats MT last week

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Sturdivant leads EPC to win over MT EPC forward Brandon Sturdivant works to pass the basketball outside, with Marked Tree guard Robert Tyree guarding him. EPC defeated Marked Tree 50-36. (Tribune Photo/Michael Wilkey)

Tribune Sports Staff

It was a clean sweep for East Poinsett County last Tuesday night as the junior boys, senior girls and senior boys all defeated Marked Tree in high school basketball action in Lepanto.

At the senior boys game, held at Warrior Gym in Lepanto, EPC overcame a slow start in the first quarter and used a strong run in that quarter to build a lead. Marked Tree jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, based on the play of guard Robert Tyree. The guard scored Marked Tree's first six points and used the Marked Tree offense to take the lead, with a loud partisan crowd yelling back and forth to each other. A three-pointer with 3:57 left in the opening quarter by EPC guard Keun Joplin broke the game open and EPC took advantage. The Warriors went on a 11-0 run to end the first quarter, leading 17-6 after one quarter.

However, in the second quarter, Marked Tree battled back and forced the basketball inside, getting two EPC players into foul trouble. With Ked Madden and Brandon Sturdivant sitting on the bench in foul trouble, Marked Tree quietly crept back into the game and cut into the EPC lead. A 24-19 lead with 53.4 seconds left in the first half turned into a 26-23 EPC lead at halftime, based on the play of guard Duanaway Barnes. Barnes, who led Marked Tree with 15 points along with Tyree scored the final four points of the first half for Marked Tree.

In the second half, the game began to move into EPC's favor as the Warriors used their fast break offense to set plays that appeared to put EPC into the driver's seat. A slam dunk by Keun Joplin with 4:44 left and a two-handed slam dunk by Ked Madden with 1:38 left in the third quarter gave EPC a 39-26 lead late in the third quarter. However, Marked Tree battled back late in the quarter to cut the EPC lead to ten points at 39-29 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, EPC moved ahead of Marked Tree using its inside game, along with key outside shots to pick up the win. Five different players for EPC scored in the fourth quarter, giving EPC a 50-36 victory over Marked Tree. Ked Madden led EPC with 23 points, while Keun Joplin scored 11. Marked Tree was led in scoring by Duanaway Barnes and Robert Tyree, who each scored 15 points on the night. EPC Head Coach Joseph Simmons told the Tri-City Tribune that his team started to play in the first quarter, yet saw Marked Tree fight back. Simmons said, "We started out hot in the first quarter. Yet, we let them creep back into the game and only up three at halftime. We were then up ten after three and kept them at a distance. We were definitely ready to play."

In the senior girls game, EPC used a 17-3 run in the first quarter to pick up a 62-31 victory over Marked Tree. EPC led throughout the game, leading 20-6 after one quarter, 37-9 at halftime and 45-23 after three quarters. EPC had three players in double figures, with Sam King leading EPC with 13 points. Alisha Gilmer and Sade Madden had ten points each for EPC, who faces Riverside Thursday night in Caraway. Marked Tree was led in scoring by Rudy Martin, who led all scorers with 30 points.

In the junior boys game, EPC used a strong second quarter to defeat Marked Tree 40-32. After leading 9-2 after one quarter, Marked Tree fought back in the second quarter to cut the EPC to six points at 21-15 at halftime. In the third quarter, both schools battled back and forth as Marked Tree cut into the EPC lead. EPC led 28-24 after three quarters.

EPC was led by Chris Davis, who led all scorers with 22 points. Brett Hardin added 15 points for EPC, while Marked Tree was led in scoring by Dee Love with 15 points.

Both schools will participate in the 2004 NEA Tournament, which starts Saturday on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

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