It's Dexter's biggest win since winning the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
"This is a great win, we really needed it for our confidence," said Dexter head coach Eric Sitze. "We don't see that pressure defense like that every night. We have to play a lot of 1A and 2A teams and you could tell, because we didn't handle it very well in the first half."
For NMCC it's a tough, bitter loss -- a game that they were in control of inside of the final two minutes.
"We lost a tough one tonight and we've lost some tough ones this year," said NMCC head coach Scott Kruse. "This has been a season that's going to make us mentally tough here in about two and a half more weeks."
The Eagles (6-13) were in great shape when they were leading 60-57 with less than three minutes left. NMCC's Brandon Waters came up with a loose ball and streaked down the court for an uncontested layup.
But instead he bounced the ball off the backboard to a trailing Edgar Givens for an alley-oop dunk.
Givens missed the jam and was then whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim with 2:32 left.
Dexter's Derek Demaree converted both technical free throws, then Josh Miller canned a 3-pointer on the following possession. All of a sudden, instead of NMCC taking a five-point lead, Dexter led 62-60 with 2:14 left in the game.
"That was a big momentum swing -- that might've been the difference in the game right there," said Sitze.
Kruse was visibly upset with the technical call, but downplayed Waters' decision for the alley-oop.
"Don't let that take away from the whole game," said Kruse. "This is (Waters') first year playing ball and he had a brain lapse and it cost us dearly. He's been our most valuable player the last week. If that's a big deal then it shouldn't be. He's been our MVP."
A Jordan Kimball free throw cut the Dexter lead to 62-61. After the teams exchanged turnovers, Kimball got a wide open look at a 3-pointer but the shot was off the mark.
After a scramble for the rebound, it was ruled that the ball went out of bounds off an NMCC player with 11 seconds left.
Dexter then inbounded the ball and was able to break the NMCC press, with Miller finding Kyle Espey for a layup with four seconds left.
NMCC got a shot off from halfcourt but it was too late and off the mark.
"Earlier in the year when we played games like this against Blytheville and Massac County and lost, we were happy," said Kruse. "We're not happy anymore with this. We're a step or two away from putting it together and being a nice team."
NMCC jumped out to the early lead, taking a 21-13 advantage after one quarter. Eagle senior Edgar Givens scored nine of his 12 points in the opening frame.
NMCC led by as much as 13 in the second quarter. They led 29-17 with 3:42 left in the half, but Dexter finished the quarter with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 29-25 at the half.
The Bearcats took their first lead of the game on a Miller 3-pointer with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
Dexter led 48-46 at the end of three.
Dexter (15-5) got a big night out of Miller, who had a game-high 24 points. Demaree finished with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
"I like Derek hitting those shots out there, but I wish he would be a presence inside and establish that spot around the basket," said Sitze. "But he's a good shooter and he hit some tough shots tonight. Both of those seniors stepped up for us and showed some leadership down the stretch."
NMCC will host Scott County Central tonight at 6 p.m. Dexter will host Advance tonight at 6 p.m.
NMCC won the junior varsity contest 57-50.