BLOOMFIELD - The 45th Annual Bloomfield Christmas Tournament hasn't provided too many exciting games this year.
But Friday night's game between top-seeded Dexter and No. 4 Twin Rivers will go down as one of the best games in recent memory in the tournament.
The game featured a little bit of everything, but in the end it was three-time defending champion Dexter that pulled out the 62-61 win in overtime in front of a jam-packed Bloomfield gymnasium.
"I don't think anyone went home and didn't get entertained tonight," said Twin Rivers head coach Scott Kruse, a Dexter native. "That's what high school ball is all about. Hopefully they'll remember that one for a long time."
Dexter played third-seeded Portageville on Saturday for the championship, while Twin Rivers played East Carter County for third place. Results from the championship and all other games will be in Monday's edition.
Twin Rivers appeared to be on the verge of pulling the upset when they were ahead 61-60 with the ball with 18 seconds left. But three seconds later the Royals were whistled for an offensive foul that triggered some controversy.
"My kids work so hard and they've got so much guts -- and to have a call take it out of their hands really hurts us," said Kruse. "It hurts us right here in the heart. We worked so hard and we deserved that game so much."
Dexter head coach Eric Sitze didn't offer an opinion on the call.
"I'm not the referee -- they make the calls," said Sitze. "You could also talk about the call where Chris Hyten falls down at the other end. You don't question the referees, they just call the game."
After the call, Dexter worked for a last shot, but the Royals eventually forced a jump ball, leaving the ball in the Bearcats' hands with the alternating possession with 5.4 seconds remaining.
Dexter ran a perfect inbounds play from halfcourt to 6-foot-7 center Chris Carr. Carr caught the pass and scored a wide open layup with three seconds left.
"That's an inbounds play that we've been working on," said Sitze. "It just so happened that they stepped up so high on him and there was a lot of room behind him."
Twin Rivers quickly inbounded the ball to Scott Wilkerson, who got off a clean shot from halfcourt. A hush came over the crowd for a split-second when Wilkerson's shot was on-line, but it rimmed off to send the Dexter faithful into a frenzy.
"Any time they touched the ball you've got to be nervous in a game like that," said Sitze. "When the intensity is up, the atmosphere is like that, anybody can do anything in a game like that."
It was an entertaining finish to an entertaining game.
Dexter led through most of the first half, taking a 29-25 halftime lead.
But Twin Rivers quickly tied the score in the third quarter when 6-foot-8 center Steve Deken finished off an ally-oop with a slam dunk, which seemed to ignite the Royals the rest of the game.
The Royals led through most of the second half from that point. Wilkerson's basket with 1:15 left gave Twin Rivers a 56-53 lead, but Matt Christian buried a 3-pointer to tie the score seconds later.
With 27 seconds left, Carr blocked a Deken shot, giving the Bearcats the ball and a chance to win in regulation.
But Hyten lost the ball with five seconds left, giving it to the Royals, who called timeout with two seconds remaining.
Twin Rivers ran a nice out-of-bounds play to Seth McBroom, who attempted a wide-open shot from the left corner but it air-balled, sending the game into overtime tied at 56-56.
The Royals jumped out to a 60-56 lead in overtime, but the Bearcats closed the game on a 6-1 run to pull out the victory.
"Dexter is such a good team -- they do so many things right and they have so many players that can hurt you," said Kruse. "But I'm partial. I felt like we deserved to win that game. It'll be tough to regroup (on Saturday) because this was our championship game."
Twin Rivers' Deken played his best game of the tournament, scoring 22 points while blocking several shots. But he only had four points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"I thought Deken outplayed Chris Carr tonight, even though Carr did what he had to do," said Sitze. "But Deken played an awesome game, it's the best game I've seen him play. All the Twin Rivers kids played a good game. They have no reason to hang their heads. Both teams deserved to win that one. We were just fortunate to have the ball last."
Carr still finished with 18 points, including the game-winner. The Bearcats also got big games from Hyten with 12 points and Chad Gill with 10.
Wilkerson had 13 and Scott Forest had 10 for the Royals.
The third-seeded Bulldogs had no problem disposing of surprising No. 7 seed East Carter County.
Portageville jumped out to a 33-20 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened.
Portageville's J.T. Williams pumped in a game-high 22 points while Bryant Sims and Eric Booker had 15 and 14 respectively.
East Carter was led by Joey Evans with 13 points and Barry Colyott with 11.
The Bulldogs played Dexter for the championship on Saturday while East Carter played Twin Rivers for third place.
The second-seeded Kennett Indians advanced to the fifth place game with a solid win over SEMO Conference foe Doniphan.
The Indians led 17-11 after one quarter, but the Dons closed the gap to 25-24 by halftime.
Doniphan kept it close through most of the second half but the Indians pulled away with a 24-14 fourth quarter run.
Julius Taylor led the Indians with 22 points followed up by Tyree Goolsby's 19. Dustin Pritchett added 11 points.
Doniphan was led by Danny Kellas with 22 points and Shayne Talburt with 11.
Kennett played Puxico for fifth place on Saturday.
The inability to hit point-blank shots continued to haunt the Hayti Indians.
Hayti, which athletically can matchup with any team in the tournament, has no player that can hit the outside shot.
Puxico took advantage, taking a 27-26 halftime lead and a 39-37 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Hayti's Derek Moore led all scorers with 22 points followed up by Danny Mack with 11.
Puxico was led by Cainan Jordan with 17 and Derek Binford with 14.
Puxico played Kennett for fifth place on Saturday.
In the consolation bracket, Van Buren withstood Malden's 3-point barrage to advance to the championship.
The Bulldogs led 17-11 after one quarter and 25-24 at halftime.
Malden was led by James Farr with 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Jamall Kilgore added 11 points.
Van Buren was led by Jeremy Chadwell with 15 points. Justin Gibbs and Ryan Freeze added 14 points each.
The Bernie Mules led throughout the game, but they sealed the victory by hitting 13-of-20 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Bernie led 18-13 after one quarter and 38-26 at halftime. They still led 49-39 entering the fourth quarter.
Richland's Sherome Cole scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, hitting 14-of-18 free throws overall. Travis Nelson and Josh McMullin added 11 points each.
Bernie was led by Robert Johnson with 19 and Marcus Johnson with 18 points. Chad Wooldridge and Travis Blanchard each had 17 points.
Bernie played Van Buren for the consolation championship on Saturday.