(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team crept closer to .500 with a 67-45 victory against Oran in a makeup game on Wednesday at the Field House on Senior Night.
The Bulldogs have now won six of their last eight games to improve to 11-12 on the season.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season at the Field House with an 8-4 record.
"The seniors wanted to play well in our last game at home," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "We always play well in front of the home fans and it's nice to get a win like this in our last game at the Field House."
Sikeston controlled the boards and the Eagles had trouble scoring for much of the decisive first half.
Sikeston never trailed in the game as they raced out to a 10-2 lead. Oran's Ryne Wood connected on a 3-pointer to make it 10-5, but the Bulldogs closed the quarter on an 11-0 run as Nate Thomas scored a layup at the buzzer to make it 21-5.
"I thought we played well early and we got a lead on them," said Holifield. "I thought defensively in the first half we did a nice job and kept them out of their stuff pretty well."
The Eagles had trouble at times even getting a shot off as the Bulldogs forced 22 turnovers, including 14 steals.
"We were aggressive and we were in a stance, helping and hedging and doing a good job," said Holifield. "We got a lot of deflections and got our hands on the basketball and we got some easy buckets out of it."
The Bulldogs continued to pour it on in the second quarter, opening up a 31-10 lead after Lontas McClinton went vertical for a one-handed jam with 3:57 left in the half.
Sikeston led by as much as 23 points on three different occasions in the second quarter before settling for a 39-18 halftime advantage.
"We didn't come to play tonight, and if you don't come to play against good ball teams you're going to get your butt kicked," said Oran head coach Mitch Wood. "I don't know if we've decided the season's over or what. I don't know what we're doing."
The Eagles got as close as 45-30 in the third quarter but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game.
"We know they're an outstanding team and they're not going to go away," said Holifield. "They battled all the way through. They've got a really good program there and our kids respect it and they knew they would battle hard in the second half."
The Bulldogs closed the quarter strong to lead 51-30 heading into the final frame.
Sikeston put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, taking a 61-31 lead with 5:20 left in the game to cap a 16-1 run.
Holifield cleared his bench the rest of the way.
Oran went on a 14-0 run in the closing minutes to pull to 61-45 with a minute remaining.
Sikeston ended the game by scoring the last six points to reach the final margin.
"You think playing a team like this would help you, but if you come out scared to death like we did tonight then it won't help you a whole lot," said Wood. "We didn't get anything out of this game tonight, except for a loss."
Oran was led by Nathan Seyer's 19 points. No other Eagle reached double figures.
"I think they have an outstanding shot at winning their district tournament," said Holifield. "They've played well against the teams in their district. I just think they're going to get better from this point on and have a shot at it."
Sikeston got a game-high 23 points out of McClinton, who also had nine rebounds and three steals.
Lavar Morgan added 12 points with six assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Ben Anderson had 11 points with six rebounds and two steals.
Junior Freddie Wiggins pulled down eight rebounds.
Seniors Michael Colon and Lawrence Davis combined for four points with five assists and five steals in their final home game.
The Sikeston junior varsity team improved to 13-7 on the season with a 69-29 win against Oran's jayvee team.
Sikeston led 14-10 after one quarter and 29-16 at the half. The Bulldogs turned the game into a rout in the second half out-scoring Oran 40-13 as the mercy rule was in effect in the fourth quarter.
Sikeston was led by freshman Kash Bratcher's 19 points. Apollo Patterson followed up with 16 points. Tyler Woodson and freshman Clay Lincoln each had 10 points.
Oran was led by Jordan Mason's seven points.