The much-anticipated matchup was wild even from the opening tip. The huge crowd was in the contest from the beginning and as a result, both squads were stoked.
In the opening frame Portageville's Edgar Fonda drilled a three-pointer to open the scoring. Then the Eagles found the range and promptly went on a 9-0 run. The Bulldogs clawed back on some balanced scoring and trailed by a 14-12 score at the end of one.
The Eagles continued to add to the lead on a total team effort in the second period when six players contributed. As time was expiring in the period, NMCC's Eugene Cooper made an unbelievable bucket and was fouled. It appeared at that point that momentum was very much on the Eagles' side. Cooper failed to connect on the charity toss but his bucket made the score 30-19 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Eagles scored only two points the first five minutes. They netted ten points for the quarter, but the Bulldogs managed 14. Portageville trailed by a 40-33 count heading into the fourth period.
Aaron Bidewell, who led all scorers with 24 points, put together possibly his best effort of the year when he tallied 12 points, with six from the free-throw line in the final frame.
The last lead the Eagles had was at the 1:09 mark when Mackal Kimble hit a deuce to put the visitors up by a 49-48 score, but Bidewell put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at the one minute mark with a bucket of his own.
"Our kids played well, but they didn't play well enough to win. We squandered big leads. What got us beat tonight was letting them back in the game,'' said NMCC coach David Fields. ''I think our basket had a lid on it in the second half, but Coach (Jim) Bidewell does a great job and I think tonight showed why Portageville is 17-6 and we're 8-15."
"It was a great win for us because we have struggled as of late, and New Madrid is a good squad and we knew that coming in. We just found a will to win and put a team away, whereas the last couple of games we had kind of given it up. Maybe being at home played a part in that. The 'sixth man' really helped us tonight and I really appreciate it,'' said Coach Bidewell. "New Madrid is a definitely a team to be reckoned with."
Portageville claimed the jayvee contest 45-37.
Portageville will host Scott City on Tuesday. NMCC finished the regular season and will now compete in Class 3, District 1, which is the same district Portageville is in.