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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Sikeston out to impress in Lady Royals Classic

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Sikeston's Mia Welch, right, drives around a Doniphan defender in a game earlier this year.
BROSELEY -- The 2003-2004 Lady Royals Holiday Classic will run Dec. 27 through Jan. 3 at Twin Rivers High School.

Many local teams will compete in this year's tournament, including Sikeston, who earned the No. 4 seed with a record of 4-2.

"I think we can play with anybody in there," said Sikeston coach Lee Brooks. "We're pretty excited about it."

Brooks has good reason to like his team's chances. Earlier in the year, Sikeston beat second-seeded Doniphan 59-50. The Lady Bulldogs also played top-seeded Dexter tough, losing 65-54.

"We're looking forward to another possible matchup with Dexter," said Brooks. "When we met them before, it was only our second game and we had some internal problems. I would like to meet them again."

Getting another chance at Dexter won't be easy. The Lady Bulldogs face East Carter in the first round of the tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m. If they can win that game, they will likely play No. 5 Kelly in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

Sikeston upset the Lady Hawks back in the Chaffee Tournament 57-53. Beating Kelly again won't be an easy task.

"I'm sure Kelly would like to play us again," said Brooks. "It's going to be a dogfight, but we're looking forward to it. These kids just want to play. They don't have any fear of anybody. There is a little flu going around, but if we can get healthy, I think we will be ready for this. The team is looking for that next conquest."

Sikeston is led in scoring by sophomore Allison Blurton with 11 points a game. Down in the post, Mia Welch is averaging 10 points a night. Point guard Paige Silverthorn is also a scoring threat, putting up 10 points a game.

Dexter will face NMCC in the first round at 9:30 a.m. The Lady Bearcats recently had their mettle tested in the HealthSouth Holiday Classic and hope that experience translates into a championship at Twin Rivers.

"We're just excited to be in the tournament," said Dexter coach Gavin Miller. "My girls are really pumped about it, and they're not going to take that top seed for granted. We know we're going to have to work extremely hard, because there are some very talented teams in this tournament."

Dexter is led by 6-foot junior Rachel Blunt, who is averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game. Charlotte Johnson is the team's outside threat, averaging four 3-pointers and 16 points a night. Sophomore Taylor Nelson is averaging just under 13 and sophomore Natalie Hayes is providing seven a night.

Point guard Hannah Burleson is out six weeks, nursing a knee injury.

The Lady Bearcats are hoping the tournament plays out as seeded, so they get another shot at No. 2 Doniphan. The Donnettes beat Dexter on their home floor earlier in the year.

"We would love to play Doniphan again, but we just want to take care of New Madrid first," said Miller. "In a big tournament like this, you can't take anything for granted or overlook anybody. You've got Clearwater that's undefeated and Twin Rivers is always tough. Kennett and Charleston are also very talented. It's going to be very tough to win it."

Other first round games include No. 2 Doniphan vs. No. 15 Woodland at 11 a.m., No. 3 Greenville vs. No. 14 Malden at 3:30 p.m., No. 5 Kelly vs. No. 12 Senath at 12:30 p.m., No. 6 Kennett vs. No. 11 Neelyville at 5 p.m., No. 7 Charleston vs. No. 10 Naylor at 6:30 p.m., and No. 8 Clearwater vs. No. 9 Twin Rivers at 8 p.m.