PORTAGEVILLE - The Portageville Bulldogs wrapped up their regular season Tuesday night with their 19th win of the campaign over the Scott City Rams 55-41.
The Ram record falls to 15-9. Portageville has lost five times.
For Scott City, Mark Dannenmueller led all scorers in the contest with 19 points. Willie Hassell led Portageville with 18.
The Bulldogs broke on top with a Hassell bucket, but the Rams answered and took the early lead and continued to lead until a 7-0 run that ended when Scott City's Daniel Jackson connected on a 3-pointer to pull the visitors to within two at 13-11 with 2:12 left.
Hassell answered with a trey and Antonio Scott added a bucket and Portageville led 18-13 after one quarter.
"We were wondering if we were practicing in vain, but we came out and played better. It just lets me know that a lot of our problems were just between the ears," commented Bulldog coach Jim Bidewell.
"When we make up our minds to play defense, we are a good ball club, when we don't, we're below average," Bidewell continued.
Hassell opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and on defense, shut out the talented Dannenmueller, holding him scoreless for the entire period. With some defensive quickness, the Bulldogs held the Rams to only three buckets while scoring 11 points, including nine straight to begin the quarter.
Portageville led 29-19 at the half.
"I was really proud that they could finish their last game here at home like this on senior night. These kids started for us last year and have gotten a lot wins for us,'' said Bidewell.
"I was hoping they would go out with something positive, and I think they did."
Landon Hill, who finished with eight points for the Rams, opened the decisive third quarter with two early buckets. Dannenmueller followed with a deuce, and the Rams had cut the Bulldog lead to four at 29-25 with 6:04 on the clock.
But Portageville responded with an 11-0 run and led 40-25 with 1:53 remaining. In that stretch, the Bulldogs hit 3-of-4 free throw attempts and led 42-27 at the end of three quarters.
"We lost to a great team. They're quicker than us, tough matchup. They play very good defense and they rebound the basketball," said Rams coach Lance Amick.
"We just haven't played that type of quickness and it takes a half, if not a game, to get used to that type stuff," Amick said. "We took a step forward tonight, got beat by a good team."
Dannemueller collected 11 of his points in the last quarter, but Portageville answered every Ram point. Scott City never got closer than 14.
The Scott City junior Rams held off the Bulldogs 44-37 behind Alex King's 19 points.
Portageville will take on Kennett on Monday in Class 3, District 1 at 4 p.m. at Portageville.
Scott City will meet Clearwater on Saturday at Greenville in Class 3, District 2.