CAPE GIRARDEAU -Cape Girardeau's Show-Me Center has shown fans a lot over the years. Thursday night, fans were shown how tenacious Dexter's Lady Bearcats can be, even in a loss.
Dexter had its chances in the 60-58 loss to Massac County's (Ill.) Lady Patriots.
With four ticks left on the clock and plans to foul, Dexter's defense forced a turnover that left two seconds left and Dexter to inbound the ball.
Jessica Fowler received the pass and a Lady Patriot knocked the ball out of her hands, sending it rolling across the floor and the game to an end.
The Lady Patriots were the best matchup that Dexter has seen to date and is pretty comparable to the Patriots' previous competition.
"We needed that game," Dexter coach Gavin Miller said. "They were a good team, we just dug ourselves into a hole early on and that hurt us.
"My girls played good tonight. I got really good play from my guards," he continued. "Natalie did a good job and stepped up and scored some points there in the second quarter for us.
"She did something that she hasn't had to do before and she learned from it."
Dexter (4-1) fell into a 15-2 hole early in the first quarter.
"I am proud of my girls," Miller stated. "You can look at it two ways, we did come back or we could have lost by 30.
"I'm just really proud of them for not folding up. The team - at this point - last year, would have."
A steady press from the Patriots (8-1) saw the 'Cats turning the ball over and unable to convert on scoring attempts early - something they haven't had to deal with thus far on the season.
With two minutes to play in the first, Dexter began to turn it on and would begin to slowly climb back into the ball game - thanks to Rachel Blunt.
"We were really scared of Blunt coming into this game," Massac County head coach James Forthman stated. "She's a great player.
"This team is a great team too," he continued. "They have a group of really talented kids and have a chance to do some great things here in Missouri."
Blunt poured in five points to fuel a 7-0 run to end the first quarter.
Making adjustments at the quarter, Dexter would outscore its opposition 16-13 and go to the half, trailing 28-25.
In the third, Massac would stretch out its lead again, leading 43-37 heading into the final period.
Trailing 53-46, Molly Burleson knocked down a critical three-pointer and then notched a breakaway lay-up to put the Bearcats back within two.
"Molly is going to be a good player for us," Miller said. "She is really coming along."
With time winding down, Dexter would be forced to foul.
Massac responded, draining five of six free throws in the final minute to hold onto the win.
If drawing their first loss of the season wasn't enough, Dexter's Lady Bearcats had troubles getting home.
The school bus on which they were riding, became filled with smoke between Dexter and Sikeston. There was not yet a determined cause for the incident, nor were there any injuries.
Dexter plays Cape Central today at 4 p.m.
PORTAGEVILLE - The Portageville Lady Bulldogs basketball team improved to 6-1 on the season with a 53-43 win against New Madrid County Central.
Portageville led 12-8 after one quarter and 24-22 at the half. But they started to pull away in the third quarter as they led 40-29 heading into the final frame.
Portageville was led by Faith Long's 15 points and Lauren Kellams' 10 points.
"We came out really sluggish in the first half and finally Hannah Rone, Faith and Lauren picked up the intensity and we followed their lead," said Portageville head coach Eric Ellerbrook. "We got a big lead there in the third quarter. They were hustling."
NMCC falls to 0-6 on the season.
Delta 66, Charleston 39
CHARLESTON - Delta improved to 5-2 with a road win. The Bobcats had four players reach in double figures in points including Rachel Ware (17), Kaci Menz (16), Ashley Deprow (11) and Sarah Cook (10).
BELL CITY - The Bell City Cubs improved to 5-2 on the season with a Stoddard County Conference victory against Bernie on Thursday, winning 71-64.
Bell City trailed by as much as nine in the third quarter before rallying for the win.
Jeff Liggins led the Cubs with 20 points followed up by D.D. Gillespie's 14 points and A.J. Henry's 11 points.
Bernie got a game-high 31 points out of Zach Dill. Doug Johnson added 18 points, all on six 3-pointers.