MALDEN - The Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team crept above the .500 mark on the season with a 54-35 road win over Malden on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs, coming off a heartbreaking one-point defeat to Charleston on Friday, looked sharp defensively for most of the night.
The Bulldogs held the Green Wave without a field goal for 10 minutes of game action from the 4:17 mark of the third quarter to the 2:15 mark of the fourth quarter.
"I thought our defense really played well," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "I was somewhat leery of a letdown after the Charleston game. But the players really stepped up and had good intensity. I was very proud of the performance."
Sikeston (6-5) dominated from the outset, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. The Bulldogs led 16-9 after one quarter and extended that to a 25-11 lead in the second quarter.
"The shots didn't fall for us, but that has a lot to do with what Sikeston was doing as well," said Malden head coach Ashley McMillian, whose team falls to 5-6. "They were getting out and guarding us."
The Bulldogs also had a distinct size advantage at nearly every position.
"It wasn't just size, it was strength also," said McMillian. "You could tell by looking out there sometimes. We were giving up four, five or six inches at every position."
The Bulldogs led 25-13 at the half before the Green Wave made a small run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 32-23. Sikeston's Justin Freeman then knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead back to double figures. The Bulldogs closed the third quarter on a 9-1 run to lead 41-24.
Sikeston built a 49-26 lead when Holifield pulled his starters with 4:17 left in the game. Shortly after, Sikeston's biggest lead of the game reached 51-26.
"I thought we guarded well most of the night -- to hold Sikeston to 54 points, I'm proud of that," said McMillian. "We only had 13 points in the first half so we had trouble scoring pretty much all night. Early in the third quarter we got it down to nine, but after Freeman hit that three they just kept building on that."
The Bulldogs were led by Lontas McClinton with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Eleven of his points came in the first half. Lavar Morgan followed up with 14 points while Freeman added 12.
"I knew coming in that McClinton was a heck of a ball player," said McMillian. "He's 6-3, he's very strong and very aggressive on the boards. I knew coming in we probably wouldn't be able to stop him, so we just wanted to see what we could do against everybody else."
Malden's Jamall Kilgore was the only player to reach double figures with 12 points.
"I thought defensively we really came out and established ourselves in the first half," said Holifield. "We took them out of their offense and I felt like we out-rebounded them. We showed pretty decent patience on offense. It was a total team effort. We got guys into the game that haven't been getting a lot of playing time so to get them in there is very beneficial."
Sikeston will travel to play Doniphan on Friday night at 6 p.m. while the Green Wave will play at Senath-Hornersville.
The Sikeston jayvee team improved to 8-3 on the season with a 51-38 win over Malden.
Sikeston led 16-3 after one quarter of play and were never threatened. The Bulldogs led 23-11 at the half and 40-25 at the end of three.
No player reached double figures for the Bulldogs. Blake DeWitt and Marcus McCaster each had eight points in the win.
Apollo Patterson had seven points and 10 rebounds. Lance Rhodes had four points, six assists and six steals. Malden (5-3) was led by Michael Simmons' 10 points.