The Bearcats continued their remarkable success in the friendly confines of Bloomfield High with a 69-39 trouncing of the Advance Hornets to claim the championship of the 80th annual Stoddard County Conference Tournament on Friday.
The victory at Bloomfield was Dexter's 51st in 52 outings at the venue, dating back to the '98-'99 season.
It was also the Bearcats' sixth Stoddard County Conference Tournament title in seven years.
"I thought we looked tired at times, a little sluggish, but we shot the ball well and got up and down the floor pretty good," said Dexter coach Eric Sitze. "I still think we can press better and do some other things better."
No. 1-seed Dexter's full-court zone press looked pretty good creating numerous points off turnovers.
The Hornets, the third seed, hung around in the first quarter, trailing 17-13, but seven second-quarter turnovers resulting in 12 points propelled the Bearcats to a 33-16 halftime lead.
Leading the Bearcats was six-foot junior Eric Rinehart who consistently found openings down low in the Hornet defense for 16 first-half points. Rinehart finished with a game-high 17.
Poor Hornet shooting compounded their problems in a feeble three-point second-quarter output.
Dexter extended its lead to 50-28 in the third period.
"I thought Advance was tired," said Sitze. "They had a good ballgame last night, they shot the ball well against a good Bell City team."
Advance defeated No. 2 Bell City, the defending tournament champion, 75-55 in a Thursday semifinal, while Dexter tripped No. 4 Puxico 74-50 in the other. Dexter's Sitze stressed in a post-game interview that the tournament win was nice, but the remaining contests were foremost on his mind.
He said, "We've still got five (regular-season) games and district left. Those are the most important games. We learned last year that it doesn't matter what you do in the middle of the season, but (what you do) at the end. Our goal is to compete at district time."
Anthony Elfrink, Dexter's 6-5 senior post, chipped in with 13 points and senior Levi Rawson added 10. Elfrink and 6-5 Chris Guethle represented Dexter on the all-tournament team.
Juniors Daryl Wade and Jeremy Limbaugh, both all-tournament selections, paced Advance with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Hornets' senior guard Tyler Bowman was also chosen to the team.
Dexter swept the tourney championships with a 68-49 win over Advance in the junior varsity division.
Sophomores Cole Smith and Bo Chamberlain topped the Bearcats with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while freshman David Hessling added 11. Advance's Alex Steil led all scorers with 26.
In the third-place varsity game, Bell City (11-7), outlasted Puxico 57-49.
The Cubs, with Puxico forced to foul, sank 12 of 16 free throws in the final quarter to seal the win. Bell City held an 11-point advantage from the stripe, going 21-for-31 overall while Puxico went 10-for-17.
A.J. Henry led the Cubs with 14 and D.D. Gillespie, an all-tournament choice, had 13. Bell City's Jeff Liggins also made the all-tournament team.
Puxico's all-tournament selection Jonathan Helm scored a game-high 24 points. The Indians' Jesse Townsend and Tyler Ramsey joined Helm on the all-tourney team.
Rounding out the all-tournament team were Seth Gaines of Woodland and Zach Dill of Bernie.
Bell City defeated Puxico 60-47 to capture the third-place junior varsity trophy.
Cody Bailey poured in a game-high 27 points, including 13 of 16 from the stripe, to lead the Cubs. Austin Segers added 20.
Lloyd McClure had a team-high 23 for Puxico.