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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big second half spurs Dexter past Caruthersville

Monday, February 16, 2004

(Photo)
Derek Demaree receives a pass as Caruthersville's Dominic Branch defends.
POPLAR BLUFF -- A strong second half fueled by full-court pressure and a dominant rebounding performance led the Dexter Bearcats to a win over the Caruthersville Tigers 61-46 Saturday at the Black River Coliseum.

"It was a good win for us," said Dexter coach Eric Sitze. "I thought we came out and played a good second half. We started pressing and getting after them the second half and got our juices going. We ran the floor better and got some easy looks."

The two teams went into halftime tied at 20 after Caruthersville's Chad Benson hit a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired.

However, the Bearcats quickly dismissed any hopes of the momentum from the shot carrying over to the second half for the Tigers.

Dexter (18-6) came out in their zone press and used an 11-3 run to open the third quarter.

While the press didn't force a large number of turnovers, it quickened the pace and seemed to energize the Bearcats.

"Both teams were sluggish in the first half I thought," Sitze said. "Luckily we got after it better in the second half and got to pushing it up the floor."

With Dexter pushing the ball up the floor, they were able to get easy looks at the basket.

One of those benefiting from the quicker pace was junior Chris Guethle.

Time after time the Bearcats hit Guethle as he was slashing through the lane, leading to his game-high total of 19 points.

It was Guethle's fourth straight game of more than 15 points, a streak that began when leading scorer Derek Demaree went down with an ankle injury.

"Derek's injury might have been a blessing in disguise for us because Chris got some more touches and got his confidence up," Sitze said. "That might have been the best thing to happen to him."

While Guethle was leading the Bearcats offensively, Dexter's best defense proved to be giving Caruthersville only one shot each time down the floor. Dexter dominated the Tigers on the glass 35-16 on the night.

"I thought we rebounded well," Sitze said. "The last two weeks the games we've played well, we rebounded well. Even the loss to Bell City we rebounded decent that game. When the kids get in there and rebound that makes a big difference."

After Dexter jumped out quickly in the third quarter Caruthersville began to chip away at the lead.

Two free throws by the Tigers' Plessie Ellitt with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter cut the Bearcat lead to 33-29.

But Dexter finished the quarter with five-straight points including a Demaree putback as time expired in the third quarter.

Guethle then hit two quick baskets to begin the fourth quarter giving Dexter a 42-29 lead. The Bearcats then hit 17-of-18 free throws in the final frame to seal the game.

Demaree, in only his second game back since injuring his ankle, finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Ellitt led the Tigers with 15 points while Kyle Hubbard scored 11.

Dexter is 3-2 against the Tigers since the series began in the 1999-2000 season.

Dexter will next host the Doniphan Dons in their final regular season game Tuesday night.