SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs and the Doniphan Dons are a pair of teams that have deceiving records.
Checking in with 4-7 and 5-6 marks respectively, both teams will try to creep back to .500 with a win Friday night in a
SEMO Conference matchup at the Field House.
Junior varsity action is scheduled for 6 p.m.
But with the losing records, it's the teams that they have played that have played a part in the outcomes.
Of Sikeston's seven losses, two came to out of state teams, two came to SEMO No. 2 ranked Charleston, one came to No. 1 ranked Poplar Bluff and another came to No. 6 ranked Notre Dame.
Doniphan has also had a tough go, losing to Charleston, Cape Central, No. 3 ranked Dexter and Portageville to name a few.
This is also Sikeston's first home game since Dec. 20, making it nearly a month since the Bulldogs have played in front of the home fans.
The Bulldogs have lost five of their last six games and are looking to right the ship.
Doniphan, fresh off an upset win against Ozark Foothills Conference rival Twin Rivers last Friday, is coming off a loss at Notre Dame on Tuesday.
"We're in two different conferences and it seems like most of our SEMO games are on the road and most of our OFC games are at home," said Doniphan head coach Shawn Gibbs. "The SEMO's tough enough already. (Sikeston's) another challenging game for us. We haven't won any games yet, but so far we've competed."
Doniphan is led by the guard tandem of Danny Kellas and Shayne Talburt. The two seniors average 20 points per game and both have 3-point shooting range.
Point guard Josh Hewett runs the offense while Dale Anderson and Michael Pigg man the forward positions.
"They all pass it, catch it and shoot it very well," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "They look to push the basketball down the court so we have to get back on defensive transition. They make 3-point shots, they crash the boards. We've got to slow the tempo down with them."
Sikeston is a team searching for an identity.
Led by all-stater Lontas McClinton, early in the season the Bulldogs pounded the ball inside and let the senior do the rest.
But teams have used collapsing zone defenses the last several games in an effort to contain McClinton, daring the Bulldogs to hit the outside shot.
"He's somebody that we want to stop as much as possible," said Gibbs of McClinton. "We're going to try to front him inside and the big thing for us is to focus on keeping him off the offensive boards."
The defensive strategies have worked for the most part, forcing the Bulldogs to find alternative methods of scoring.
Holifield has revamped the starting lineup, inserting sophomore sharpshooter Marcus McCaster into a guard role.
Point guard Lavar Morgan has been moved to the post to try to take advantage of his size and strength.
The move worked in a win against Fredericktown as Morgan scored 22 points with 15 rebounds.
But Charleston's size neutralized the Bulldog post game.
"Sikeston's a very athletic team," said Gibbs. "It's going to be tough for us inside, but a lot of teams are for us. Athletically, they're pretty tough. We're going to look to push the ball as much as possible because that plays into what our strengths are."
The Dons don't possess the size that Charleston and many other teams in the SEMO Conference have, so Holifield is hoping his team will take advantage of the situation.
"We're going to have to get the basketball into the paint area to our post players," said Holifield. "They're not very big so we definitely have to pound the ball inside and get the job done there."