SCOTT CITY - The Sikeston Bulldogs set season highs in points and field goals made, but it still wasn't enough to overcome the Scott City Rams on Friday night as they lost 84-78 at Scott City High School.
The Bulldogs led by as much as 16 points in the third quarter, but were out-scored 47-25 in the final quarter and a half.
"We put ourselves into a position and played really well the first two and a half quarters," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "We just lost focus. More than anything else, we missed some shots that we were making and they were able to get in the lane and make some shots. When they missed they'd get the boards. They really hurt us on the boards. We weren't aggressive and we started standing and they started killing us on the boards."
The Rams towered over the smaller Bulldogs, with three 6-foot-5 players and one topping out at 6-6.
Sikeston's tallest post player is 6-2 Joel Nabors to go with the generously listed 6-foot Rod Moore.
"They are really tall and they just reached over the top of us," said Holifield. "They created some problems for us in there."
Despite the size discrepancy, Sikeston had their way on offense, with Moore scoring a season-high 19 points and Nabors chipping in 10 points, which ties his season high.
But the difference was on the boards, where the Rams got second and third chance points throughout the second half.
The Bulldogs couldn't play much better in the first half as they raced out to a 20-12 first quarter lead and a 48-37 lead at the half.
"When you don't play teams of Sikeston's caliber with the quickness they have, it takes a while to get used to that kind of speed," said Scott City coach Lance Amick. "We've been trying to schedule some of the bigger schools and I think playing teams like this will help us down the road."
Scott City's Mark Dannenmueller showed why he is an all-state player as he scored a game-high 29 points, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line. He also had 10 rebounds.
Dannenmueller's 3-pointer with 3:45 to go in the game gave the Rams their first lead since the early stages at 72-71. Scott City (10-5) never trailed again.
Dannenmueller was joined by Mark Johnston's 23 points, who was also 11-of-12 from the stripe. Johnston finished with a triple-double as he had 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Rams shot a stellar 24-of-28 on the night and were 15-of-15 in the second half.
"They're really good players," said Holifield. "Dannenmueller really impressed me. He can get his shot off and he's very consistent. They shoot the free throws well and we kept putting them on the line."
The Bulldogs were whistled for 21 fouls compared to Scott City's six. Sikeston was 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Sikeston (5-6) led by as much as 53-37 after a Kash Bratcher 3-pointer in the third quarter, but Scott City closed the quarter on a 24-10 run to trail just 63-61 entering the fourth.
"It's a game of endurance when you have a team that's hot the way they were," said Amick. "We just wanted to be patient with our zone and hope that they cool down.
"If they keep shooting like that then they win the game. But we stayed confident in what we were doing and it worked out for us. It's a great win for us."
Sikeston led through most of the fourth quarter as well, but the Rams' caused some turnovers and consistently dominated the offensive boards to make the comeback.
"We did a much better job defensively in the second half," said Amick. "They were killing us with the high flash and low post. Gregg does a great job with them."
Bratcher finished with 17 points and four assists. Tyler Woodson had a season-high 10 points and five assists.
Sophomore Julian Beard scored 12 points.
Holifield tried to explain the high-paced action in the first half.
"We were just trying to get more aggressive offensively and defensively," said Holifield. "We did some good things. We can play that way because we have some speed and quickness."
The Sikeston jayvee team fell to 3-8 on the season with a 43-41 loss to Scott City.
Similar to the varsity game, Sikeston led throughout the entire contest until the end.
Sikeston led 12-7 after one quarter and 21-20 at the half. They extended the lead to 29-23 heading into the fourth quarter before allowing 20 points to the JV Rams in the final frame.
Sikeston was led by Tarryl Booker's 10 points and nine rebounds. Andrew Sales added six rebounds.
Scott City was led by Rynn Eskew's 15 points and 6-5 freshman Alex King's 11 points in two quarters of action.