DEXTER -- The Dexter Bearcats claimed their 19th win of the season Monday with an overtime victory over Portageville on Senior Night, 84-79.
The Bearcats have lost four times.
It was the Bulldogs' second loss in a row and their sixth on the season. Portageville has won 16 games.
Derek Demaree was the man for Dexter with a game-high 31 points, including six in the crucial overtime period.
Top Bulldog scorer, Aaron Bidewell (24) and teammate Willie Hassell (17) came out in the opening period and served notice that the favored Bearcats would not have an easy time disposing of the visitors.
The duo combined for 14 points in the frame to pace the Bulldogs to a 17-14 advantage. Demaree canned six for Dexter in the period.
Portageville put together another good effort in the second quarter, when Danny Scherer canned two 3-pointers. The Bulldogs scored 17 again and extended their lead to 34-30 at intermission.
The third stanza belonged to the home team as they netted 22 points and captured the lead for the first time at the end of a quarter. Demaree went to work with 11 points and Dexter led 52-51 going into the final frame.
Neither team could make enough headway in the fourth quarter to get comfortable. The period was marked by numerous ties and lead changes. When Bidewell nailed two free throws with 1:29 left and put the visitors up 66-62, it looked like they would pull off the upset, but Aaron Guethle's bucket at the 44 second mark pulled the Bearcats to within two and Preston Clark's score with 19 ticks knotted the score at 70.
With 7.1 seconds left in regulation, Portageville had a chance to break the tie. They dribbled the length of the floor and got four shots from point-blank range, but couldn't get the roll.
"We should have won tonight," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell. "We broke down mentally and quit executing and it beat us. I feel good for our kids that we played hard but this time of the year we need to close the deal."
The overtime period belonged to Dexter. The Bulldogs were victimized by a couple of easy buckets off steals, and they could not recover. Dexter outscored Portageville 14-9, including 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, to get the win.
"Derek has really stepped for us since the first of the year and the kids have gained a lot of confidence in him and we try to get him the ball. The first half we were dribbling the ball too much and were not patient enough, but I thought we did a good job in the second half," said Dexter coach Eric Sitze.
Dexter won the jayvee contest 49-19
Dexter will travel to Doniphan Tuesday night while Portageville will host NMCC on Friday night.