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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

Portageville hoping to live up to sky high expectations

Sunday, February 24, 2002

SENATH -- Over the last 11 years, Portageville has won eight district titles.

The Bulldogs will look to add to that notable run this week at Senath-Hornersville High School, site of the 2002 Class 2A District 1 tournament.

Here is a look at each of the nine teams in the district, as seeded.

Portageville earned the top seed after a stellar 22-3 regular-season. The Bulldogs are considered one of the area's elite teams, but head coach Jim Bidewell has noticed an unsettling trend in recent games.

"We've been pretty consistent up until the last couple of weeks," he explained. "Even though the kids are playing hard, I don't think we're playing the team ball we were in the mid-part of the season when we had such a good stretch. If we don't get that back in a hurry, a good regular-season is about all we're going to remember about this year."

Senior J.T. Williams leads the Bulldogs in scoring, averaging 15 points and seven rebounds per game. Eric Booker is the top rebounder with nine boards and 14 points on average.

Dantwan Chillers, Bryant Sims, Aaron Bidewell and Jordan French are all solid role players for Portageville, capable of carrying the team at times.

"I think the kids will be disappointed if we don't win (the district)," said Bidewell. "We've been fortunate to have some success, and I think that speaks well of the kids we have here."

Portageville will play the winner of the play-in game on Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Twin Rivers has also put together an outstanding regular-season, earning the second seed with a 21-4 record. The Royals lost to Portageville by two points earlier in the year.

"The kids are pretty excited about getting another chance at them, but we've got to get through Caruthersville first," said Twin Rivers head coach Scott Kruse. "Portageville and Caruthersville -- that's a tough road, but we feel we can play with anyone and give ourselves a chance to win."

The Royals haven't been blown out all year, losing to Dexter twice and Poplar Bluff, along with the Bulldogs.

Six-foot-7 forward Steve Deken is averaging 12 points and nine rebounds per game.

Robby Moore, Scott Forest, Seth McBroom and Matt Thurman are all just under 10 a night.

"We're a balanced team," said Kruse. "We don't know who's going to get what on a given night. I've got a good group of guys that work their butts off, listen, and want to play basketball the right way. It has been a terrific year."

Twin Rivers last won the district in 1995 with their 29-1 team.

Caruthersville is the defending district champion and enters as the No. 3 seed with a 13-10 record. The Tigers have played a tough schedule, with only six home games. Head coach Kevin Williams is hoping the rugged path his team has taken will result in another district title.

"If we play to our strengths we can win it," said Williams. "It just depends on if we execute and do the things we're supposed to do."

The Tigers are a completely different team this year. Instead of playing above the rim with super-athletes Norman Prather and Erick Hubbard, Caruthersville now relies on its quickness and depth to overwhelm opponents.

Senior guard Bryant Rodgers leads the offense, averaging 23 points per game. Streaky junior Chris Springer is also capable of carrying the team, averaging 17 points a night.

Forward Anthony Morgan is the top rebounder with seven boards per game, while junior Shaudre Jennings is Caruthersville's top defender.

"We've had a lot of things going on down here in the Bootheel that is going to make it interesting," said Williams. "A lot has been said."

The Tigers will face Campbell in the first round on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Hayti is seeded fourth in the district with a record of 13-11. The Indians are extremely athletic, but have struggled shooting the ball, hitting just 35 percent from the field as a team.

But Gosnell, Ark., transfer Pete Peterson has been a God-send, providing the Indians with an outside threat. Since joining the team after the Christmas break, the junior has led the team with 19.2 points per game.

Derek Moore is scoring 14 points a night and has collected 146 boards. William Moore is Hayti's top rebounder with 188. The Indians are scoring 61 points a night while allowing 59.

They will face Malden in the first round on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Malden is seeded fifth with a record of 11-10. The Green Wave have hovered around the .500 mark all season. They haven't lost more than two in a row, but they haven't won more than two straight either.

Malden will face Hayti in the first round Tuesday at 8 p.m. "We're hoping to slide in," said Malden head coach Ashley McMillian. "We've played Hayti close twice this year, so hopefully we can get by them. The kids have been pretty steady for the most part to where I thought we would be at this point in the season."

Junior James Farr leads the team, averaging 13 points per game. Reggie Benford (6-1, jr.) is the top rebounder with seven boards a night, and provides 10 points per game. Bobby Burton (5-10, jr.) is also a solid rebounder, while junior Jeremy McCoy is the team's top defender.

Campbell checks in with a record of 13-10 as the No. 6 seed. The Camels started the season with a bang, averaging 85 points over their first eight games. But injuries took their toll midway though the season and things have snowballed from there.

Senior power forward T.G. McElwrath leads the offense, averaging 14 points per game. He is also the team's top rebounder, pulling down 10 a game.

Senior guard Grant Nole provides 10 points per game, and junior forward Clinton Bader is the team's top defender. Of Campbell's 10 losses, four have come in overtime. "We're hoping to compete," said Campbell second-year coach Steve Fowler.

The Camels will face Caruthersville in the first round Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

South Pemiscot enters with a record of 6-14 as the No. 7 seed.

"We're struggling," said South Pemiscot head coach Chris Moore. "We've got some good post players, but our guard play has been really poor."

Herman Rogers leads the team, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. Kyle Helfer provides 10 points and five boards a night.

The Bulldogs will face Twin Rivers in the first round Monday at 8 p.m.

"We want to compete against Twin Rivers," said Moore. "We've played them twice and they're an outstanding basketball team. Hopefully we can play them close and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter."

Neelyville played Senath-Hornersville in Saturday's play-in game. Prior to that matchup, senior Andy Wills led the team, averaging 13 points per game. Ben Faghn provides eight points a night.

Senath played Neelyville in Saturday's play-in game. Heading into that contest, Ryan Skelton was averaging 18 points per game, followed by Landon Small with 14.