WEBB CITY, Mo. — Kyle Scharbrough and Ethan Jones combined for 65 points and led Branson to a 77-73 victory over Webb City on Friday night in Central Ozark Conference boys basketball action inside the Cardinal Dome.
A junior guard, Scharbrough lit up the Cardinals for 37 points on 13-of-20 shooting. He also made 9-of-14 free throws.
Another junior guard, Jones scored 28 points on five field goals and 15-of-17 free throws for the Pirates (9-10, 1-3 COC).
“I thought Branson played really well,” Webb City coach Jason Horn said. “They took the ball at us and put us in some tough situations defensively. We struggled keeping them out of the lane.”
For the Cardinals, a lack of defensive stops and missed opportunities offensively were too much to overcome. It was a disappointing loss for the hosts.
“We were sloppy on defense,” Horn said. “We were a step slow to the ball. Offensively, we were forcing too many things.”
Ranked third in Class 5 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, Webb City fell to 14-6 overall and 2-2 in the COC.
The Cardinals shot 39 percent (27-of-69), including 5-of-22 from long distance.
Webb City’s Nickhai Howard had 27 points and five assists, while Cohl Vaden scored 20. Kaden Turner also reached double figures with 12. Luke Brumit had 11 rebounds and seven points.
Other than Scharbrough and Jones, no one else scored more than five points for the Pirates, who hit 50 percent of their field goal attempts (21-of-42) while also going 30-for-39 at the charity stripe.
The Cardinals led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. Howard and Vaden combined for all of Webb City’s first quarter points, as Howard had nine and Vaden eight.
Jones’ 12th point of the game gave Branson a 19-17 lead with 7:12 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cardinals used a 9-0 run to go up 26-19 before the Pirates finished the first half on a 15-8 spurt. As a result, the game was deadlocked at 34 at the break.
With their backcourt duo leading the way, the Pirates outscored the Cardinals 23-14 in the third period. Branson put together a 13-2 run during the frame, but Vaden’s trey cut Webb City’s deficit to 57-48 entering the fourth quarter.
Branson was up 65-51 when Webb City made a spirited run.
Vaden buried two treys during the surge, while Turner, Brumit and Howard contributed points, trimming the Cardinals deficit to five with 1:35 left.
Howard and Brumit had hoops in transition, Brumit’s a two-handed dunk, cutting Branson’s lead to 72-69 with 30 seconds to play.
Jones then hit 3-of-4 foul shots to make it a two-possession game, while the Cardinals had an empty possession on the other end.
Trenton Hayes made two charities with six seconds left, but Jones answered with two of his own to keep the lead at six. Hayes scored just before the buzzer for the final margin.
Webb City is at Carl Junction on Tuesday. It will be a Super Night, with the girls game slated for 6 and the boys to follow at around 7:30.
Horn noted his Cardinals need to regroup and bounce back on Tuesday.
“Every game is big at this point,” Horn said. “Tuesday will be a big game for us. It’s another conference game and it’s a district opponent.”