PORTAGEVILLE - The Portageville Bulldogs pulled off a major upset Friday night by edging the Charleston Bluejays 56-54. The loss was only the second of the season for the Bluejays who are the top-rated class 3 team in the state.
The Bluejays, with 19 wins, own the best record in the area.
Portageville's record now stands at 18-4 for the season.
Antonio Scott played his best game of the season scoring 23 points. Willie Hassell got 22 and was the only other Bulldog in double digits for the game.
Charleston came out in the opening quarter playing as expected with its superior size and talent. Trentez Lane and Joshua Strayhorn got quick buckets and the Bluejays grabbed a 4-0 lead to start the contest.
Scott and Hassell answered with consecutive buckets of their own and the game was knotted the first of four times in the game.
After a Scott bucket pulled the Bulldogs to within one at 7-6, Lane and Strayhorn ended the period on a pair of buckets and Charleston led after one 11-8.
Staying so close to the Bluejays seemed to spur Portageville to play even tighter defense, and the confidence seemed to grow with every passing minute.
The second period proved to be decisive in the final outcome of the game. Strayhorn hit a jumper to open the quarter and Charleston enjoyed a 13-8 lead.
From there the momentum began to swing in favor of Portageville. Hassell and Scott nailed a pair of buckets to cut the lead to 13-12.
Ashton Farmer answered with a deuce and George Rigney connected on a trey and put the visitors ahead by six at 20-14 to match their biggest lead of the evening. Farmer also hit a free throw following a technical foul that figured in the lead.
Marcus Biles got a bucket to make the lead 22-16.
Then Hassell's quickness resulted in three easy layups, the last of which gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would maintain until late in the final stanza.
Jordan Penn's 3-pointer at the buzzer further motivated the Bulldogs and gave them a 28-24 at the half.
The Bulldogs continued to play with tenacity in the third quarter and thanks to two steals by Scott and Hassell, went on a 8-0 run and found themselves with the biggest lead by either team at 40-29.
The Bluejays roared back in the waning moments of the quarter thanks to balanced scoring and a 10-5 run to finish the period.
The score was 45-41 at the end of three.
Charleston knotted the score at 45 apiece with the first two buckets of the period.
Scott and Strayhorn traded buckets and the score was again tied at 47.
At the 3:24 mark Farmer scored to give Charleston a 49-47 lead.
On two free throws by Penn and a bucket by Scott, Portageville led by a 50-49 count at the 2:41 mark of the quarter.
Farmer hit a free throw and again the score was tied at 50 each with 2:13 left.
Scott hit a deuce at the 1:36 mark only to see Farmer knot the score again with a bucket and the score was 52-52.
Hassell iced the win with two buckets with under a minute to play and the upset of the area's best team was complete.
"They came out ready to play and making buckets, a lot of unreal shots. We defended them well. We didn't play our very best game, but I have to hand it Portageville, they played hard," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer.
Charleston was led in scoring by Farmer's 16 points. Strayhorn and Lane chipped in 15 and 13, respectively.
"We played above and beyond my expectations and that's the way you have to play when you play a team like them. They're very athletic and strong. I'm not sure we could beat them night in and night out but tonight was our night, and we're going to relish it. The kids played hard and played together," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell.
Portageville won the jayvee contest 64-58.
Charleston will host Cape Central on Tuesday night. Portageville will travel to New Madrid to take on the Eagles of NMCC Friday night.