FREDERICKTOWN - The Sikeston Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night with a 59-53 win on the road against district foe Fredericktown.
It was the Bulldogs' first game since Dec. 20 and it marked the team's first win since Dec. 9.
The Bulldogs (4-6) were a little less-than-sharp as they misfired on several point-blank shots.
"We've had almost a three week layoff so I knew coming out there was a chance we might be a little sluggish offensively," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "We missed some very easy shots throughout the game. But on the road it's a good win for us."
In fact, many of the Bulldogs' shots were uncontested layups, but even those wouldn't fall.
"It's all timing more than anything else," said Holifield. "We were just a little bit out of sync. We were basically getting the basketball right where we wanted to and we were getting the shots we wanted. We just had problems getting them to fall tonight."
It was a situation where both parties were pleased.
The Bulldogs were happy just to play again and pick up a big win on the road.
Fredericktown, which went just 2-21 last season, was just happy to show it can compete with a district opponent.
"I was pleased with the way we played," said Fredericktown head coach Brett Reutzel. "One of the major things that I'm trying to get them to overcome is conceding a game before it's played. I thought we did that a lot last year. But I thought we came out tonight believing we could win and putting forth the effort to do it."
The Blackcats (6-5) led early in the game but the Bulldogs quickly regrouped and led 16-9 after one quarter.
From that point on Sikeston maintained a sizable lead throughout.
The Bulldogs led 30-22 at the half and 44-34 entering the fourth quarter.
Sikeston led by as much as 13 in the game but never could put the Blackcats away.
"We were up eight points at the half and we very easily could've been up 18 or 20 if we had just made our shots," said Holifield.
The Bulldogs' Lontas McClinton sealed the deal with a free throw with 19 seconds left to lead 59-47.
The Blackcats made two 3-pointers in the final seconds, including one at the buzzer to reach the final margin.
Fredericktown never got closer than six points.
The Bulldogs went with a different look in the lineup with point guard Lavar Morgan moving to the post.
It was a move that paid off as the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Morgan overpowered the smaller Blackcats with a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end.
Both totals are season-highs for Morgan.
"I thought we did a better job in the second half, especially guarding Lavar," said Reutzel. "He went into the post and I hadn't seen him do that before. So I wasn't ready for that and we didn't have an answer for him on the blocks."
Teammate McClinton had 17 points and 15 rebounds.
The Bulldogs dominated the boards, grabbing 48 rebounds as a team. But it was Morgan and McClinton's combined 30 that did the most damage.
"That didn't surprise me," said Reutzel. "They're good offensive rebounders, they're athletic and both of them are bigger than we are."
Morgan's move to the post is something that Holifield has been considering for some time now.
"He really played well in there and I knew he would," he said. "I thought about that before the season started. We have three very solid post players in there right now with Ben, Lontas and Lavar. We basically got shots in there all night. Our post players combined for 40-plus points and that's the kind of production we have to have out of them."
Sophomore D.J. Hinkle had 17 points and Micah Reutzel had 12 to lead Fredericktown in scoring.
The Bulldogs will travel to play Charleston on Friday at 6 p.m.
The Sikeston jayvee team improved to 7-3 on the season with a 64-17 win against Fredericktown (2-6).
The Bulldogs controlled the game from the start, leading 15-5 after one quarter.
They continued to extend the lead until the final buzzer, holding leads of 28-9 at the half and 50-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The mercy rule kept the clock running the entire fourth quarter.
Sikeston was led by Tyler Woodson's 13 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Felante Larry had 11 points and Brandon Williams followed up with 10 points. Mike Francis and D.J. Groves led the Blackcats with six points each.