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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Districts: Shooting for a title

Sunday, February 22, 2004

(Photo)
Josh Miller is a member of the Dexter team which is the top seed in the boys bracket.
CAPE GIRARDEAU - The Class 4, District 1 Tournament will tip off tomorrow at Notre Dame High School for the second year in a row.

And also for the second year in a row, the Sikeston Bulldogs boys team was seeded third in the district.

Sikeston (5-17) will open play against No. 6 seeded Ste. Genevieve (5-19) tomorrow night at 6:00. Dexter received the No. 1 seed followed by Fredericktown at No. 2.

Notre Dame (5-19) got the No. 4 seed while Perryville (5-17) pulled in No. 5.

Both Dexter (19-6) and Fredericktown (19-7) will have first round byes.

"Dexter is definitely the best team in the district right now," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "Fredericktown is playing really well. Other than that, there's a lot of teams that are very similar in it. We open up with Ste. Genevieve. From what I understand about them, they're comparable to us. It should be a good first round game."

Sikeston has fielded perhaps its youngest team in school history this season.

On top of the fact that two sophomores and a freshman make up three of the team's top players, the Bulldogs also have one of the smallest lineups in recent school history with the tallest player on the team standing 6-foot-2.

"It's going to be a valuable experience for them," said Holifield. "Every game we go out there it's good experience. A big reason we have been up and down this year is because of our youth. This is a situation where it would be a great experience to advance as far as we could in it. If we play well, we've got a chance of competing with these teams and advancing on if we can put things together for a two or three game stretch."

What the Bulldogs do have going for them is that the district isn't very strong this year.

Dexter is the clear top seed, but after that the field is wide open.

The Bulldogs have already defeated Fredericktown 60-50 back in early January. They also split with Notre Dame this year, winning at Notre Dame High School in overtime and losing in the Superman Classic.

If Sikeston can get by Ste. Genevieve, they would get a rematch with Fredericktown on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.

Without much of a post game, Sikeston has gone outside for their offensive answers. The team has been putting up 3-pointers at a record pace this season.

Sophomore Kash Bratcher, freshman Joe Lincoln and junior Marcus McCaster all have the capabilities of getting hot from beyond the arc.

All three have hit more than 30 3-pointers apiece this season. Bratcher and sophomore Trey Spence lead the team in scoring at 11 points per game each. McCaster scores 10 points per game and Lincoln follows up with nine points per game.

Top-seeded Dexter has one of the top post players in the region in 6-foot-6 senior Derek Demaree.

Senior guard Josh Miller can score in bunches and junior swing man Chris Guethle has improved steadily throughout the season.

Dexter will await the winner of the Notre Dame-Perryville game on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

In year's past, it was Notre Dame and then there was everybody else.

While the Bulldogs are still the team to beat in the district, they aren't the dominant force they've been the last several years.

"I don't see this district being lopsided like it has been," said Sikeston head coach Lee Brooks. "It can be anybody's ballgame. Notre Dame has the home court advantage and they have the mental advantage, they've done it before. They're not going to give it up easily. But I think they can be stopped. But you've got to be focused and hitting on all eight cylinders."

Sikeston enters the district with a 13-12 record and is seeded fourth. The team started out on fire, before hitting a tailspin in January, and then rebounding to win two impressive games last week against Cape Central and Malden.

Sikeston is led by Allison Blurton's 12 points per game. Mia Welch follows up with 10 points per game and Whitney McCray puts in 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs will open against Fredericktown (10-14) on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.

"This is some great competition in this district -- Fredericktown is always tough and they will play us tough," said Brooks.

Dexter is seeded second and could provide the biggest challenge to knocking Notre Dame from the top of the mountain.

Led by Rachel Blunt, the Lady Bearcats boast perhaps the top player in the district. She averages 19 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Taylor Nelson follows up with 12.5 points and eight rebounds per night. Charlotte Johnson pumps in 10.5 points per game.

It's going to be an exciting district," said Dexter head coach Gavin Miller. "Sikeston hasn't played well of late, but on any night you can count on Coach Brooks getting his team ready for the big games. They're always going to be exciting to watch. Perryville is seeded third and they beat us earlier in the year in double overtime. They're very well-balanced. They've got inside and outside scoring."

Perryville (18-6) got the No. 3 seed while Ste. Genevieve (7-17) is seeded seventh. Perryville has given Notre Dame its toughest game this year, losing just 61-53 last Wednesday.

Ste. Genevieve is on a 12-game losing streak.