SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team evened its record at 4-4 on the season with a 59-51 win over Farmington on Tuesday at the Field House.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and never trailed after the first quarter.
"I was proud of our players, we came out and established a lead," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "We had some good moments and built a good lead against a good team, but we've got to put ourselves in a position to where we put teams away and play better down the stretch."
Sikeston led by as much as 15 in the game, and led 59-46 with 45 seconds to play. The Knights were able to drain some 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the score respectable.
"They got that lead on us, we just hovered and couldn't get over the hump," said Farmington head coach Justin Callahan.
"You've just got to give them credit. Sikeston's a good basketball team, their record's not great either, but they play extremely good competition like us. Our record could be better but we choose to play good teams like this so at the end of the year we'll be better prepared."
Farmington (3-4), which defeated Poplar Bluff to win the district championship last year, never could find a way to keep the Bulldogs off the boards.
Leading the charge was junior forward Lontas McClinton, who scored a career-high 30 points (15-of-19 shooting) while grabbing 11 rebounds.
"He was jumping higher than our kids, getting offensive putbacks and he was hitting the little jumpers," said Callahan. "There wasn't anything special they were doing, he's just a great athlete. He's an outstanding player."
Junior Michael Colon also hit the boards for the Bulldogs, grabbing a season-high 10 rebounds. Sikeston had 41 rebounds as a team.
"It seemed like they had a little too much athleticism on the boards," said Callahan. "They had a lot of offensive putbacks and second chance points and we couldn't overcome those."
Farmington led 12-11 after one quarter but it was the last lead the Knights would have. Sikeston outscored the Knights 14-5 in the second quarter to lead 25-17 at halftime.
The Bulldogs opened up a 36-21 lead to start the third quarter, but the Knights were able to cut it to 40-28 by quarter's end.
Farmington never got close than eight points in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs took care of business from the free throw line.
McClinton scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter, including a rousing two-handed slam dunk to help keep the Knights at bay.
"He really played well, his shooting percentage was outstanding," said Holifield of McClinton. "Lavar (Morgan) and our guards did a good job of getting him the ball inside. Michael Colon did a really good job on the boards tonight. I thought we out-rebounded them 2-to-1, which was one of our goals and objectives at winning the game."
But while the Bulldogs rebounded well, the shooting suffered. Sikeston made just 2-of-16 from 3-point land.
Farmington was led in scoring by Andy Mell with 12 points.
Sikeston will play at Notre Dame on Friday at 6 p.m.
Farmington will play at Cape Central tomorrow.
The Sikeston jayvee team made it a clean sweep of the Knights, winning 60-48.
Sikeston (6-2) was in control throughout, leading 14-8 after one quarter and 29-20 at halftime. The Bulldogs led by as much as 23 points in the third quarter.
Sikeston was led in scoring by freshman Apollo Patterson with 19 points and Freddie Wiggins with 13.