It's the third time in six years that Portageville will be playing Dexter, which is going for its seventh straight BCT title. Tonight's championship game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday's semifinals saw Dexter hold off fifth-seeded Doniphan 58-51 and Portageville come from behind to beat third-seeded Twin Rivers 58-55.
Dexter (7-2) led by double figures for much of the game but the youthful Dons team put together a late rally to make things interesting.
"Every game's been like this," said Dexter coach Eric Sitze. "We didn't shoot the ball as well after the second quarter. We turned the ball over some and let them get back in it. We just let teams stay in games. We've got to put them out of it when we get the lead."
Dexter led 48-37 entering the fourth quarter only to see Doniphan steadily get back in it, cutting the lead to 54-50 with 1:24 left in the game.
But the Bearcats took care of business from the free throw line to seal it with Derek Roberts canning four straight.
"We got a little rattled," said Doniphan coach Shawn Gibbs.
"We've got some younger guys that haven't been in this situation before. I could see it in their eyes -- they were getting me pretty concerned. But I thought they came back and fought back well. They're tough to defend. They run their offense and they execute it well. They have a couple 6-5 kids inside. We knew coming in they could shoot and you've got to pick your poison."
From the early going it looked as if Dexter would rout the Dons as they took a 22-9 first quarter lead.
But 6-foot-10 Doniphan junior Matt Rogers took over, scoring nine points in the second quarter to keep his team in the game.
Doniphan (4-3) cut the lead to 38-26 by halftime.
Rogers scored 18 points, including four slam dunks, to go with his eight rebounds and eight blocked shots.
"He just needs to make the game easy -- he can be so dominant inside," said Gibbs. "Instead of being spectacular, he just needs to make it easy. You can see the ability he has. He's going to be a heck of a player."
But with some halftime adjustments by Sitze, the Bearcats limited Rogers to just four second-half points.
"That was a big emphasis at halftime," said Sitze. "He had like five dunks in the first half. He's 6-10 -- he's easy to recognize. (We needed to) get him out of the paint and push him away from the basket.
"He's tough down there. You know he's going to get his blocked shot. You can't let it rattle you. You've just got to keep playing and take it at him."
With Rogers contained, Dexter extended the lead to 48-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
It was too much to overcome for Doniphan.
Dexter got 18 points out of Scott Admire, including four 3-pointers.
"They played that box and one early and they were leaving Admire," said Sitze. "He's a good shooter. Once he gets his confidence back, he'll get more consistent and be a lot better player."
Eric Rinehart had another solid outing, scoring 13 points, including 7-of-8 from the foul line. Roberts had 10 points.
No other player reached double figures for Doniphan.
Doniphan will play Twin Rivers in the third place game at 7 p.m.
Similar to the two team's first meeting, Portageville (8-0) had to rally from a double-digit deficit to defeat the Royals.
In their first meeting in early December, Portageville overcame a 17-point hole.
This time the Bulldogs fell behind 20-8 after one quarter but found a way to stay in it and made their move in the fourth quarter.
"I thought the name of the game tonight was our bench gave us some quality minutes," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell. "Our older guys seemed to fall asleep. Our bench came in and gave us a spurt. We start out slow against Twin Rivers all the time. I don't know what it is. I hope we don't have to play them again. They'll figure out a way to beat us next time."
Portageville cut the lead to 29-23 by halftime and eventually tied the game at 36-36 on a Willie Hassell 3-pointer in the third quarter.
But once again Twin Rivers (7-3) was able to build up the lead by the end of the third, 44-36.
"The first three quarters of the game were identical to the first three quarters the last time we played," said Twin Rivers coach Jim Vaughan. "Second chance points ate us up last time and it ate us up tonight. It really hurt us bad in the first half when we could've extended the lead."
To start the fourth quarter, Hassell nailed a 3-pointer and followed that up with a steal and layup to pull to 44-41. Jordan Penn then hit a short jumper and buried a 3-pointer to give Portageville its first lead at 46-44 with 6:17 left in the game.
After a free throw by Chad Bell, a Michael Lance short jumper gave Twin Rivers a brief lead. But Penn answered with another 3-pointer to make it 49-47 with 3:07 left, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to five points on two occasions. Twin Rivers got as close as 55-53 with 24 seconds left on a Jimmy Cornell 3-pointer, but they wouldn't get any closer.
Jared Stockton put back a rebound with three seconds left to reach the final margin.
"Portageville can create all kinds of havoc for whoever they play," said Vaughan. "It was real evident the first time we played them. But still we had some careless and senseless turnovers. It's like we have a mind-lapse that causes a physical mistake too many times in a game."
After scoring just two points in the first half, Hassell finished with a team-high 18 points. He was also a terror on the defensive end, particularly in the fourth quarter when he guarded Twin Rivers standout Lance.
"He's got some God-given ability that both coaches would love to have every year," said Bidewell. "He makes a coach look good."
Penn scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. Cory Chamberlain added 12 points.
Lance had a game-high 21 points, but only had two in the fourth quarter.
"They're going to face-guard him and they did that the first game," said Vaughan. "We worked on that today. We thought they would come out and do that right away. We continued to run him off screens and move him. He's still figuring out what it means to be a good mover in the offensive halfcourt."
Ryan Adams added 14 points for the Royals.
Portageville, which has now reached the Bloomfield finals six times since 1993, will be shooting for its first championship since 1992.
The meeting between Malden and South Pemiscot in the fifth place bracket pitted the surprise team of the tournament against the disappointment of the holiday event.
South Pemiscot enter the tournament undefeated with a early season win over Caruthersville, but the Bulldogs' spirit was broken in a double overtime loss to Doniphan and they never seemed to recover with a less than stellar performance against Malden.
Malden on the other hand impressed fans with it's gritty performance against Dexter and will give Kennett a run for the money in the fifth place title game today at 5:30.
Danny Ragsdale's 3-point basket with 22 seconds remaining in the game lifted the Kennett Indians to a 58-57 win over Van Buren Wednesday night at the 48th Annual Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Ragsdale, a 5'9" senior guard, finished the night with four 3-pointers and a game-high 21 points to help the Indians reach the finals in the fifth-place bracket. Sixth seeded Kennett will take on No. 8 Malden for fifth place honors this evening at 5:30.
"For a change it worked like we drew it up," first-year Kennett coach Sam Weaver said of the game-winning play. "I heard their coach call for a switch, but they didn't switch and Ragsdale got the wide open look and made the shot. We didn't finish up like we needed to, but we did get the win."
Van Buren's Daniel Hoskin knocked down a trey to open the fourth quarter and stake the Bulldogs to a 10-point lead over the Indians, 49-39, but that's when the miracle comeback began.
Kennett went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to two (51-49) and an offensive rebound and put back by Darius Shavers later tied the game at 53-all.
A bucket and two free throws by Van Buren left Kennett staggered, but a hoop by Jared Hughes in the low post with 38 second remaining set the stage for Ragsdale's game-winner when the Indians forced a turnover.
Kennett almost gave the game away after Ragsdale had given the Indians the lead when the defense came up with a steal and Shavers missed a dunk attempt on a breakaway instead of holding the ball. The miss allowed Van Buren's Hoskins, who had three 3-pointers in the game, the last shot as the buzzer sounded.
Kennett held a one-point lead at half-time, 23-22, but the Bulldogs open the third period knocking down their first seven shots to take a 37-31 lead with 3:20 remaining in the quarter.
Van Buren would out-score Kennett 24-16 in the frame to take a seven point lead, 46-39, heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Kennett struggled through the first three quarters, hitting on only 16-of-31 shots while committing 17 turnovers, but the Indians tightened things up during crunch time, connecting on 10-of-14 from the floor and only turning the ball over one time during the final eight minutes of play.
Kennett was without the services of senior starter Dontavis Jones who has an injured eye and has not been cleared to play.
Van Buren entered the Christmas tournament undefeated but was also beaten earlier by No. 2 seed Portageville in the quarterfinals.
Puxico's Jonathan Helm scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Indians defeated the Richland Rebels.
Puxico held a slim one-point lead (38-37) heading into the final period before Helm caught fire and helped his team reach the finals of the consolation bracket.
Jesse Townsend chipped with 13 points in the winning effort.
Herrion Gentry led Richland with 13 points, but he could only mange a single free throw in the final frame as the game starting slipping away. Jackie Smith scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to try and keep the Rebels in the game, but it was not enough to fend off the Indians.
East Prairie shut down Bernie's Britt Arnold, and without Zach Dill in the lineup the Mules struggled against a good Eagles' team.
Arnold had scored 65 points in the first two games, but was limited to just eight against the Eagles' defense.
East Prairie effectively shut down Bernie's inside game and the Mules were unable to answer from the outside.
Bernie was still within reach of East Prairie at the half (27-18), but a 20-6 third quarter advantage for the Eagles took the Mules out of the game.
East Prairie will take on Puxico for the consolation title in today's first game at 4 p.m.
Some information provided by Jerry Jarrell of the SEMO News Service.