PORTAGEVILLE - The Portageville Bulldogs picked up their 20th win of the season Monday night, against five losses, with a 70-47 Class 3, District 1 win over the Hayti Indians.
All-state guard Willie Hassell led all scorers in the contest with 31 points.
Portageville opened the scoring on a traditional 3-point play by Antonio Scott who had 14 points in the game. Hayti's Antonio Robinson and Ricky Jackson, who had 14 points apiece to lead Hayti, answered with a bucket apiece and the Indians led for the only time in the contest 4-3.
The Bulldogs then went on a 10-2 burst that put them ahead 13-6 after one quarter.
Portageville played another impressive defensive game, forcing 15 Indian turnovers in the first half alone.
Hassell had his best quarter in the second as he tallied 11 points. He got four of those points off steals and went 5-5 from the charity stripe as the Bulldogs outscored Hayti 20-9 to lead 33-17 at intermission.
"We just had to do the fundamentals right and we did. Hayti missed shots early that they would normally hit. All in all I was proud that our kids were focused," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell.
"We got some key steals off the trap and got some points. If we can continue to let our defense generate points, we'll be okay."
The two teams played evenly in the third quarter. Hayti did cut the Bulldog lead to 12, 41-29, with 2:30 remaining, but a 6-2 Bulldog run put Portageville up by 47-31 heading into the final stanza.
Joining Hassell and Scott in double figures for Portageville was Jordan Penn with 11.
The Bulldogs enjoyed their most productive quarter in the fourth when they tallied 23 points led by Hassell's 10. They went up by 20 points at 63-43 with 2:20 left to play and they coasted from there for the win.
The win gives Portageville the right to meet fourth-seeded Twin Rivers at 7:
30 on Wednesday in a semifinal matchup.
NMCC 66, Doniphan 58
The NMCC Eagles continued to surprise most observers Monday night by beating the second-seeded Doniphan Dons 66-58.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Eagles and makes their record 6-19 for the campaign. NMCC lost 19 of its first 21 contests before its current winning streak.
Joseph Howell led the Eagles with 20 points. He was followed by Eugene Cooper's 14. Jeffrey McFarland added 10. Malcolm Long and Quentin Binion chipped in nine apiece.
NMCC began with such intensity that the Dons seemed to be stunned. In the first five minutes, the Eagles outscored Doniphan 13-4. Five Eagles scored in the period led by Long's half dozen.
Doniphan rebounded but still trailed by a 20-9 count at the end of the first quarter and never led in the game.
Matt Rogers, 6-foot-10 junior, took over the Dons' scoring in the second quarter. He scored eight straight points on four buckets, but the Eagles responded and continued to play well to increase their lead to 36-19 at the half.
Doniphan began to cut the lead in the third quarter as the Dons found the range on their 3-point attempts.
A Mitchell Pearson trifecta and a Charles Wilson bucket pulled the Dons to within 11 at 50-39 as the period ended.
The fourth quarter featured a frantic comeback by Doniphan. Chandler Wilson canned two 3-point attempts and Charles Wilson and Nic Gordon got one each during a Doniphan 19-8 run that put the score at 58-57 with 1:45 remaining.
The Eagles' quickness proved to be the difference in the last stretch of the game. After pulling to within one Doniphan was outscored 8-1 as the last two minutes unfolded. A Malcolm Long steal with under 20 seconds left resulted in a Howell bucket that iced the Eagle win.
"We officially have our kids peaking at the right time," said Eagle coach Scott Kruse. "We've just gotten better and better. We have been in a lot of close games, but we haven't found a way to win them, and we have made enough mistakes to lose.
"Lately, our guys do enough things right to win, hit free throws to win, and got stops to win. I'm really proud of them. Everything from now on is just icing on the cake."
The Eagle win puts them in a semifinal matchup against second-seeded Caruthersville on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
"It's really fun when you can go out and play and coach and know that we are going to play hard and have a chance to win," said Kruse.
The fourth-seeded Twin Rivers Royals handily defeated the Malden Green Wave who were seeded fifth 83-60.
Michael Lance led all scorers in the contest with 29. Jared Stockton followed with 17, Kade McBroom had a dozen and Jon Miller netted 11.
The Royals sank a potent 10 three pointers.
Michael Simmons led the Green Wave with 23 points. Jordan Beaird added 11 and Jon Henfling had 10.
Twin Rivers will face the top-seeded Portageville Bulldogs Wednesday night at 7:30 in a semifinal matchup.