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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Portageville slips by NMCC

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Portageville's Willie Hassell drives past New Madrid County Central's Eugene Cooper.
NEW MADRID - The Portageville Bulldogs squeaked by a stubborn NMCC squad Friday night 55-54 to notch their 19th win of the season against four losses.

The Eagles slip to 8-15 on the season.

The two teams have a history of playing very close games over the last three seasons.

When the county rivalry began two years ago NMCC won by only two points.

In last year's meeting, Portageville claimed a 10-point win. The first quarter was a good indicator of the type of game that was in store. The score was tied twice in the early going until Jordan Kimball nailed a trey to give the Eagles a lead that they would hold through the end of the period.

For the Bulldogs Willie Hassell canned a trifecta to end the quarter and the Eagles led by two at 13-11 after one.

Balanced scoring by both teams made the second period more productive offensively.

New Madrid had six players to score in the stanza while the Bulldogs had four players led by Hassell's six. Hassell gave the Bulldogs only their second lead at that point at the 2:38 mark at 25-23.

The Eagles clawed back and when the frame was over, the Eagles still clung to their two-point advantage 29-27.

The third quarter proved to be the decisive one in the contest.

Jordan Penn and Hassell combined for all 13 of the Portageville points.

The Eagles managed only eight points and trailed by a 40-37 count after three periods.

The final quarter featured no less than half a dozen lead changes.

Brandon Waters and Malcom Long hit consecutive buckets for NMCC to erase the slim Bulldog lead and at the 6:50 mark led 41-40.

Hassell answered with a bucket and a conventional three-point play and Antonio Scott hit a clutch bucket and the 'Dogs led 47-45 at the 3:31 point of the period.

With 2:28 left in the game, Scott hit another bucket and the visitors led 49-45.

Waters hit a big bucket at the 1:05 mark and New Madrid had its last lead of the evening at 50-49.

Scott hit another deuce with 45 seconds left and the Bulldogs led 51-50.

From that point the game became a contest from the foul line.

Penn, Ramone Kershaw and Scott hit 4-of-6 from the charity stripe for Portageville in the remaining 12 seconds to give Portageville a four point lead.

Newsom hit a trey at the buzzer for the Eagles to pull them to within one.

"The game looked like a war because Coach Bidewell teaches his kids to play hard and I teach my kids to play hard. I'm proud of my kids. They've been through a lot this season," said Eagle coach Scott Kruse. "Everybody we play has no trouble getting up for us. They see our banners and our season record and they think they can win."

"It was an ugly win, but we'll take it. It was a physical game. We struggled to get in the ballgame. We got a little lead there in the third quarter and a little momentum. Our kids seemed a little tired and not as ready as we could have been, but New Madrid battled hard and we were fortunate to win the way we hit our free throws," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell.