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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Sikeston falls to Caruthersville

Monday, January 27, 2003

METROPOLIS, Ill. -- The Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team wrapped up a winless Superman Classic on Saturday night with a 77-68 loss to Caruthersville.

Sikeston (5-10) will try to get back on the winning track when they host Jackson on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It will be just the second home game for Sikeston since mid-December.

The Bulldogs led the Tigers 16-14 after one quarter but things quickly went south after that.

Caruthersville took its first lead of the game at the 5:30 mark when Chad Benson scored to make it 20-18.

That started a 17-4 run as the Tigers (8-8) ended up leading 37-27 by halftime.

Caruthersville continued its hot shooting in the third quarter as they opened up a 17-point lead at one stage of the period, which marked the biggest lead of the game.

The Tigers led 58-42 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs put together a furious rally in the fourth quarter led by sophomore Marcus McCaster as they cut the lead to seven points with 14 seconds left.

But that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.

McCaster scored all of his season-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, hitting three 3-pointers.

"He really played with confidence in the fourth quarter," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield of McCaster. "He's a very good player, he just has to get confident. He can do that every night, he's that type of player. Our young guys are going to start seeing more playing time. They just need to continue to work and get better."

Sikeston was led in scoring by Lontas McClinton with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

It looked like McClinton was in for a big night after scoring 12 points in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs were unable to get the post player the ball much from that point on as he was contained to 11 points in the final three quarters.

"(McClinton) was catching and penetrating a lot and he was getting baskets at will," said first-year Caruthersville head coach Brian Brandtner. "So I told them 'if you're not guarding 4 (Lavar Morgan) or 3 (McCaster), then get ready to help, because you know McClinton's wanting to go to the rack.' I think we did a pretty good job of help defense, but it was also a combination of him missing some shots."

McClinton actually was 11-of-16 from the field but was just 1-of-5 from the free throw line.

Morgan, who averages 15 points per game, was held to eight points.

"It's a great win," said Brandtner. "Coach Holifield's teams are well-disciplined and they play well. For us to get a win over Sikeston, that just means the world to me. I've got all the respect in the world for Coach Holifield and their program."

It's the second year in a row that Caruthersville has defeated the Bulldogs in the Superman Classic.

Last year it was all-stater Bryant Rodgers doing the damage. This year it was Southeast Missouri State signee Chris Springer and Plessie Ellitt, a relative of former Sikeston two-time all-stater Bryan Ellitt.

Springer buried six 3-pointers en route to 24 points. Ellitt wore out the baseline jumper for a game-high 27 points.

"It seems like every other game somebody different steps up," said Brandtner. "Tonight it was Plessie Ellitt. That's by far the most points he's scored in his varsity career."

Benson added 10 assists for the Tigers.

Caruthersville was 8-of-18 from 3-point range in the game and they were 22-of-33 (67 percent) from inside the arc.

"They shot the basketball very well but defensively we were very soft," said Holifield. "We weren't up and pressuring the basketball and we didn't have a hand in their face. They had open looks and they're very good shooters, they knocked them down. The bottom line is we didn't handle that situation very well at all."

McClinton was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 19.7 points in three games.

Madison and Herrin, which were both in Sikeston's pool, played for the championship on Saturday night. Madison took home the title with a 60-50 win against Herrin to finish 4-0 in the round robin event.