(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
On Friday night they will try to keep the winning going with a road game against the Kelly Hawks.
Junior varsity action is set for 6 p.m.
Sikeston (6-10) has won just one road game all season with that coming against Fredericktown on Jan. 7.
Even though the Hawks are one of the smallest schools on the Bulldogs' schedule, Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield isn't about to take them lightly.
"Every game's a big game for us at this point in the season," said Holifield. "We're just trying to go out every night and play as well as we can. I know Kelly will be very competitive. I've had an opportunity to see them play and they play very hard, they're well-disciplined and they're well-coached. We'll have to really play well there to beat them. I know they'll be ready to play. They always are. We're just looking forward to the game."
Kelly (7-9) is one of the few teams on the Bulldogs' schedule with a sub-.500 record. But part of that is because, for their size, the Hawks play one of the toughest schedules in the region.
They have shown the ability to play well.
Their top wins have come against Bloomfield, Advance and Scott County Central.
But most of their losses have come against the best, with all but one coming to teams ranked in the SEMO Top 10, including Charleston twice, and one each to Notre Dame and Twin Rivers.
"We've been stressing and talking about Kelly," said Holifield. "They have a very proud program, they have a lot of tradition. But regardless of who you're playing, you just have to come out and be ready to play and compete every night."
Like Kelly, the Bulldogs have had their share of tough games. Playing perhaps the toughest schedule in Southeast Missouri, of Sikeston's 10 losses, five have come out of state, one to Notre Dame, two to state-ranked Charleston and one to No. 2 ranked Class 5 Poplar Bluff.
"You play good people to put yourself into position to be as good as you can be by the end of the year," said Holifield. "We're just trying to be the best we can be for the district tournament. We've competed most nights, we've had a couple of bad nights, but we've just got to come out and play well every night and have a chance to win some games."
The Bulldogs have been led most of the year by returning all-stater Lontas McClinton, who averages 19 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The Bulldogs also get scoring production out of Lavar Morgan (15 ppg) and Marcus McCaster (8 ppg). Seniors Michael Colon, Ben Anderson and Lawrence Davis are all top defensive threats.
"We're predominantly a man-to-man defensive team," said Holifield. "We've been spending a lot of time on that in the last week because we didn't play very well in a couple games last week. We'll just come out and play our normal game defensively and try to take away some of their looks at the basket."
The Hawks are led senior guards Major Burger and Lance Scheffer and junior forward Chris Romas.
Burger averages 15 points per game and Romas chips in with 13. Scheffer follows up with eight points per game.
All three have 3-point shooting range.
"I haven't gotten to see Sikeston play this year," said Kelly head coach Nick Lanpher. "So we're coming in unaware of what they're going to be doing. They have a good ballclub because they have some good boys returning from last year. They're going to be a real aggressive team. They've got some good rebounding boys and they've got some size. They've got a lot of jumping ability too."
Although the Hawks have rarely had success against the Bulldogs with their last win coming in 1997, Lanpher says his team plays more inspired when facing Sikeston.
"It gets them up," said Lanpher. "Big schools don't really intimidate us, because we've played Charleston twice and Cape Central. Playing those larger schools didn't bother us."