DONIPHAN - The Sikeston Bulldogs had their most explosive offensive game of the year in routing the Doniphan Dons 80-56 on Friday night at Doniphan gymnasium.
The Bulldogs improve to 7-5 overall this season and 2-1 in the SEMO Conference with the victory.
The Bulldogs set season-highs in total points scored and field goals made with 37.
Sikeston also had its defense working well, allowing just 15 field goals.
"I thought we really came out with good intensity on defense," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "I thought our post game was really good tonight. We got good looks at the basket all night and Lavar Morgan did a good job of getting us in our offense. I thought we got on the boards good. Lontas (McClinton) was really explosive around the rim tonight."
McClinton dominated the game, scoring 28 points with 10 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two impressive slam dunks. Seventeen of his points came in the first half.
Bulldog senior Justin Freeman also put together a solid night, scoring 17 points. Morgan added 11 points with seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Bulldogs committed just nine turnovers on the night.
Doniphan (3-9, 0-3 SEMO Conference) head coach Shane Benson knew his team would have trouble with McClinton and Freeman
"I think (McClinton and Freeman are) really good ballplayers and they have been for a long time," said Benson. "They're just very athletic and very talented basketball players, plus they're playing hard. That's a hard combination to guard and we knew we were going to struggle matching up with them. But (Holifield has) got four or five others that I was very impressed with too. That's as good a ballclub as (Holifield has) had there."
The Bulldogs certainly looked impressive. With the score tied 9-9, Sikeston went on a 10-0 run. The run was highlighted when McClinton blocked a shot, tracked down the ball, and finished off the fast break with a spectacular jam.
Sikeston led 19-9 after one quarter. The Bulldogs continued to play well in the second quarter but they ran into foul problems. The Dons scored just one field goal the entire quarter, but they sank 15 free throws to stay in the game.
"We were lunging and coming up out of our stance, but defensively we were playing well," said Holifield. "The intensity was good and the effort was good, but we committed too many fouls during a stretch there in the second quarter."
Sikeston committed 17 first half fouls and led just 36-26 at the half.
"I didn't feel good at any point tonight, because I didn't think the boys came out mentally ready," said Benson. "I knew we were having trouble scoring and I knew if they ever quit fouling then we'd be in trouble. And they did."
Sikeston began the second half with a 14-0 run and just like that, the game was a blowout.
The Bulldogs led 50-26 when Shayne Talburt stopped the bleeding momentarily with a 3-pointer at the 4:20 mark.
"We came out in the second half and really established ourselves offensively and defensively," said Holifield. "That really set the tone for the rest of the game, to build a 20-point lead quick in the second half and put us in good position."
But the Bulldogs continued to pull away, leading 55-29 at one point in the third quarter and 63-38 at the end of three when Morgan sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Substitutes played most of the fourth quarter for both teams.
"I don't think we came out ready to play," said Benson. "We might play a really good ballgame and Sikeston could still beat us, but we're better than we played tonight. It's the first night all season that I was really disappointed in the mental effort that they gave in getting themselves ready to play. We didn't give ourselves a chance to even be in the ballgame."
Doniphan's Danny Kellas scored the first nine points of the game for the Dons and finished with a team-high 17. Brian Pulliam scored 12 of his 16 from the free throw line. Talburt scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
"I think you can look in the mirror with what Sikeston went through last year," said Benson. "They were a better ball team than their record showed last year and I think we're going through some of that same thing."
Lawrence Davis also reached double figures for the Bulldogs with 10 points. Michael Colon added seven rebounds.
Sikeston will play Madison, Ill., in the Superman Classic at Massac County High School on Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Doniphan will play at Neelyville on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m.
"I've seen (Doniphan's) scores and they've been playing everybody close," said Holifield. "Going over there is a tough place to play. This is really a good road win for us."
It's the second time in as many trips that the Bulldogs have defeated Doniphan on its home floor.
The Sikeston junior varsity team fell to 8-4 on the season with a 37-36 loss to Doniphan.
Sikeston trailed after every quarter, but they had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds but Freddie Wiggins' game-winning attempt was off the mark.
Freshman Marcus McCaster led the Bulldogs with 10 points and six rebounds. Wiggins added nine points with 15 rebounds.
Steven Switzer, Nick Powell and Devin Simms each had 10 points for the Dons.