The visiting Tigers used their quickness and some Bulldog defensive lapses to drive the lane early in the contest and jumped out to an 8-2 lead.
A Portageville timeout at the 2:49 mark seemed to change the tempo and the momentum of the game and when leading scorer Willie Hassell sank a bucket with two seconds left, the 'Dogs had cut the lead to 11-10 in favor of Caruthersville at the end of one quarter.
The Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities in the second quarter as five players scored including a big 3-point bucket by sophomore Jordan Bidewell.
Hassell tallied five of his 11 points in the period and Portageville led by a 26-21 count at the half.
"Caruthersville came out with some cold shooting, and any time you play a team that is cold, you're in for a good night," commented Portageville coach Jim Bidewell. "If we had shot our free throws, it would not have been so tight there at the end. We played well enough to win but we're young and we're learning, and maybe by the end of the year we can be a decent ball club."
Portageville suffered its worst free throw performance of the year by netting only 6-of-20 attempts including four straight misses in the crucial fourth quarter when Caruthersville was called for a foul and a technical foul.
The Tigers managed to even the score early in the third stanza at 26 at the 7:15 mark, but Jordan Penn put Portageville on top to stay with 6:32 left.
Caruthersville's Plessie Ellitt led all scorers in the contest with 14 points. Kyle Hubbard added 10 in the losing effort.
Junior Jimmy Larry scored 10 points for Portageville.
Portageville spread the floor in the fourth quarter, taking only high percentage layups while taking time off the clock. The Tigers committed 11 fouls but the Bulldogs hit only four of their free throws out of 17 tries. The Bulldogs led by as many as nine in the period at 42-33.
The junior Tigers used a last-second shot to edge Portageville 44-43 in the jayvee contest.
Portageville will host the Dexter Bearcats on Thursday night. Caruthersville will travel to Hayti to take on the Indians.