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Sikeston steals win from Cape

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

(Photo)
Sikeston's Whitney McCray and Cape Central's Jessica Johnston reach for a rebound.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs have played some inconsistent basketball the last few weeks.

But the team overcame some of their recent struggles to post one of the biggest wins of the season, defeating Cape Central 37-34 on Monday at the Field House.

It's Sikeston's first win against Cape Central in recent memory, if ever.

According to Lady Bulldog head coach Lee Brooks, it's definitely the first time in his 12-year tenure.

"In the 12 years I've been head coach, this is the first time we've beaten them," said Brooks. "Before the game I told the girls that they had already set a precedence. We won the Chaffee Tournament to make history. If you want to put one more foot in the history door, then you need to beat Cape tonight."

Sikeston rallied from a five-point fourth quarter deficit to pull out the win.

The Lady Tigers took a 31-26 lead with over five minutes left on a Megan McDonald 3-pointer from the left corner.

The Lady Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead.

It all started when Mia Welch scored a was fouled. She missed the free throw, but sophomore Whitney McCray got the offensive putback to cut the lead to 31-30.

McCray then scored on the following possession to give Sikeston a 32-31 lead with 2:40 left in the game.

A minute later, McCray found Nyketia Johnson on a backdoor layup to extend the Lady Bulldogs' lead to 34-31 with 1:30 left.

McCray led Sikeston with 14 points and several big rebounds.

"She is the workhorse and the darkhorse of this team," said Brooks of McCray. "I know I can put Whitney in there and she's going to go to work. She just strapped it up and she works. She's not the most graceful, but she gets the job done. She's always around that ball. Our team wouldn't have as much success without her this year."

Sophomore Paige Silverthorn made 1-of-2 free throws to extend the lead to four with 19.5 seconds left.

McDonald hit another 3-pointer with 0:08 left in the game but Silverthorn sank two more free throws with 4.9 seconds left to help seal the victory.

McDonald's shot from 30 feet out to tie was short, giving the Lady Bulldogs the win.

"I knew she would hit them," said Brooks of Silverthorn's free throws. "She was a little down on herself early in the game. She's emotional and I like a kid like that. I knew I needed to put her back in because she is the leader of the team. I knew they had to foul her and we had been working on her shot. I knew she could step up and hit it."

McDonald single-handedly carried Cape Central, scoring 27 of her team's 34 points, including five 3-pointers. She had 19 of the team's 21 points in the first half.

"She's an excellent player," said Brooks. "Sometimes when you see a player play that well, you know they're just winners. That last shot she hit the bring them back, that's a big-time shot. She's a big-time player. I couldn't get anybody to guard her. We had to come out and box-and-one her. I have to give Amber Anthony credit, she stepped up and did it in the fourth quarter."

Sikeston (12-12) trailed 12-8 after one quarter and 21-20 at the half. Cape Central (4-16) maintained a 28-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"We didn't play with any intensity," said Cape Central head coach Amy Blattel. "We didn't play with any desire. They beat us to every loose ball. We don't have kids diving for balls. I think that's the bottom line. We came in with no intensity and no passion."

Erica Schabbing was the only other Lady Tiger to score, getting seven points.

"Megan McDonald is an athlete -- there's not going to be anyone that can stop Megan McDonald except herself," said Blattel. "We have to have other people score and right now we don't have anybody willing to do that."

Lady Bulldog sophomore Allison Blurton scored 11 points, including three first half 3-pointers to help keep Sikeston in it.

"We've been close before to beating Cape," said Brooks. "Cape has a great program. A win like this lets the kids believe. We owe the younger kids behind us some big wins like this. For us to beat a team like this, for the program, there are some young girls out there tomorrow that want to wear the Lady Bulldog uniform."

Sikeston will close out the regular season on Thursday when they host Malden in a varsity only game at 6 p.m.

Sikeston lost the junior varsity game to Cape Central 32-30. The team trailed 16-4 at the half but rallied to make a game of it in the second half.

Amber Anthony led Sikeston with 11 points. Latoya Gipson followed up with 10 points.