Sikeston's 9th graders avenged an earlier loss to Jackson by winning 41-32. Sikeston lost to Jackson 71-47 on Dec. 1, but turned things around this time.
"We just went to work over the Christmas break," said Sikeston 9th grade coach Chris Sarakas. "We've been practicing and we're just trying to get better. I think that was our best game of the year. We talked about it over Christmas about playing just two quarters a night. We played four quarters tonight. When you play good teams, you've got to play a full game."
Sikeston (3-3) led 8-0 after one quarter of play, but Jackson steadily chipped away at the lead from there.
They closed the gap to 14-9 at the half and trailed just 20-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
Jackson actually took a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs rallied back for the win.
Stellar free throw shooting by the Bulldog freshmen helped the cause as they were 17-of-24 from the line on the night. Tarryl Booker led all scorers with 18 points, including 10-of-12 from the line.
Joe Moore followed up with 12 points.
Jackson was led by Leimer with nine points and Logan Lawson with eight points.
In the 8th grade game, Jackson's superior size simply overwhelmed the Bulldogs as they won 45-29.
"They're just big -- they present a lot of problems for us," said Sikeston 8th grade coach Kevin Self. "That big kid inside is talented. I know the coach was saying their freshman bunch has trouble guarding him."
Sikeston only trailed 20-12 at the half but was out-scored 16-5 in the third quarter to fall behind 36-17 heading into the fourth.
Sikeston (2-4) lost to Jackson 55-30 in their last meeting, but Self thought his team was better prepared this time.
"We played them better," said Self. "The first time we played them they beat us as bad as they wanted to. This time we played them closer and played them a little better. We just had a bad third quarter. The final score doesn't look good, but I thought our kids played hard. I was happy with our effort. We just had trouble scoring and that big kid was a main factor for that."
Jackson's big man Grantham led all scorers with 18 points.
Sikeston was led by Tommie Strong with seven points. Scott Droddy and Gavilan Bland each had six points.
Sikeston's 8th and 9th grade teams will be back in action tonight in Cape Girardeau at 6 p.m. against Cape Central's junior high teams.