Daniel leads Lady Bulldogs past Perryville
SIKESTON -- Joy Daniel picked the perfect time to play her best game of the year Monday night, leading Sikeston to a 61-56 win over Perryville in the first round of the 3A District 1 Tournament.
The 5-foot-10 junior forward scored a game-high 23 points, hitting nine crucial free throws down the stretch to preserve the first-round win for the Lady Bulldogs.
"We've been waiting on Joy to step up...she was due," said Sikeston coach Lee Brooks. "She had been kind of non-existent for the last three or four games, but she stepped up for the big game. That's what good players do. She really did a good job tonight."
Sikeston, the No. 5 seed, pulled off a mild upset with the victory, beating the tournament's No. 4 seed. The Lady Bulldogs will now face top-seeded Doniphan in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"The kids wanted it," said Brooks. "We gave up too many threes, but the girls kept their composure. And we hit our free throws down the stretch. We work on those every day, and this team shoots free throws better than any team I've had. We also got a little lucky and caught a few breaks."
Along with Daniel, senior Summer Ray also came up big for Sikeston in the fourth quarter, hitting 4-of-5 free throws in the fourth quarter with 10 points overall.
Their accuracy at the foul line allowed the Lady Bulldogs to nullify an impressive scoring spree by Perryville senior Amanda Nuyt.
The 5-foot-5 sharpshooter rang up 17 points in the fourth quarter and scored 22 on the night. Earlier in the year, she set a state record for most 3-pointers in a game.
"I thought she did a good job of trying to get us back in the game," said Perryville head coach Vicki Lohmann. "She's had an outstanding career for us and I'm going to miss her a lot. She tried to take the team on her back, and I thought she was going to pull it out for us."
Perryville ends the year with a record of 15-10.
"We played very poorly tonight," said Lohmann. "Our heads weren't in the game. It's just disappointing -- I've never been out of districts this early. We just didn't play our best game. I thought we had the better team, but Sikeston impressed me. I saw them play a couple of times, and I don't think they have played this well all year. It's just a credit to them for limiting us to one or two shots each time. (Coach Brooks) did a wonderful job getting them prepared to play us."
Nuyt and teammate April Lorenz opened the game with a 3-point assault as the Lady Pirates jumped out to a small lead. Sikeston was able to rebound in the second quarter and knot the halftime score at 28-28.
The third quarter proved to be the difference as the Lady Bulldogs outscored Perryville 11-6. Both teams put up 22 points in the final frame to give Sikeston a crack at Doniphan on Wednesday. The Donettes have won the district four straight years.
"We just tried to keep (Perryville) from shooting threes and stayed with our ballgame," said Brooks. "We tried to get the ball up the floor before they got back, and got some easy layups. That was the difference in the ballgame I think."
Sikeston's leading scorer, Jennifer Medlin, wasn't a factor on the offensive end, finishing with just four points. The Lady Bulldogs were still able to improve to 15-9 on the year and extend the season for at least one more game.
"I try to push this team every time they take the court, and they surprise me every time with the effort they give," said Brooks. "They're not the most talented, but they're the most surprising team I've ever coached. We're coming to beat Doniphan on Wednesday. We came into this thing wanting to play them, and the girls are focused. We want to prove ourselves."
Katie Dunlap scored 20 points and Amy Rose contributed 11 as third-seeded Dexter defeated sixth-seeded Kennett in the second game of Monday's 3A District 1 slate.
The Lady Bearcats jumped out to a commanding 11-3 lead and held a 26-11 halftime advantage. Liz McCracken was able to rally the Lady Indians in the third quarter and shave the lead down to five points.
But Dexter finished the game on a 20-10 run to pull out the win.
McCracken led all Kennett scorers with 16 points.
Dexter (17-6) will now face Fredericktown on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Kennett ends the season with a record of 14-10.
Second-seeded Fredericktown blew New Madrid County Central out of the gym in the final game of the night, 54-26.
Nickey Tucker led the Lady Blackcats with 15 points, followed by Megan Brown with 12 and Jessica Johnson with 10.
Jenni Glenn, Shanika McFarland and Reshelia Smith each scored six for the Lady Eagles.
Fredericktown (19-7) will face Dexter on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. NMCC ends the year with a record of 5-17.