METROPOLIS, Ill. -- The Sikeston Bulldogs basketball team didn't come away empty handed in the 21st Annual Superman Classic on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, playing in the seventh place game and on the verge of going winless in the event for the second straight year, held on to defeat Saltfleet out of Ontario, Canada, 54-47.
Sikeston trailed 27-25 at the half, but picked up the defense in the third quarter to take a 33-31 lead heading into the fourth.
The Bulldogs (4-9) took care of business from the free throw line in the final frame to close out the win.
"We came out and really played well on Saturday," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "Our kids showed a lot of character and pride."
Sikeston made 15-of-19 free throws in the game and were 13-of-17 in the fourth quarter down the stretch.
"We stepped up and hit the free throws," said Holifield. "We can put three guards on the floor that can all hit free throws. If we get ahead in a game, I like our chances. The four games we've won we've been able to maintain the lead with our free throw shooting."
The Bulldogs, who relentlessly fired up 3-pointers throughout the tournament, focused more on pounding the ball inside on Saturday against the bigger Saltfleet team.
The Bulldogs still put up 17 3-pointers, but that was a far cry from the 33 they attempted on Thursday against Notre Dame.
Bulldog senior Freddie Wiggins responded with one of his best games of the season.
He scored 14 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. He also had four assists and four steals.
Junior Joel Nabors, who has spent most of the season on the junior varsity, played his most extensive minutes of the season. He scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had two blocked shots.
"I thought Freddie really played well," said Holifield. "He and Joel Nabors combined for nearly 30 rebounds. "Both of them really hit the boards hard. We controlled the glass in this game. Joel really played well. He got in there and battled and competed. He's got a strong body and he did some good things for us inside."
Sikeston grabbed 47 rebounds in the game.
The Bulldogs also did a nice job on Saltfleet standout Keenan Jeppesen, a 6-foot-7 senior that came into the game averaging 30 points in the tournament.
The Bulldogs held him to 19 points.
"We were playing a team with an outstanding player," said Holifield. "I thought we did a really good job of guarding him and keeping him contained. Marcus McCaster and Josh Alvarado both did a great job on him."
McCaster only scored five points, but he had five rebounds and four assists.
His play throughout the tournament got him on the All-Tournament team.
"He had a solid tournament," said Holifield of McCaster. "He shot the basketball well and he defended well and played unselfish."
Sikeston trailed 11-10 after one quarter and 27-25 at the half.
The Bulldogs led by as much as eight with 3:45 left in the game.
Saltfleet got no closer than three down the stretch.
Bulldog sophomore Kash Bratcher scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half to lead the team.
Bratcher tallied three 3-pointers in the game, giving him 10 in the tournament.
"Kash really played well," said Holifield. "He's steady. He does a good job of taking care of the basketball. He's getting valuable experience as a sophomore and doing a good job of running the team. If he's open and spotted up, he's a consistent shooter from the 3-point line."
Freshman Joe Lincoln added 10 points, eight of which came down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He also had three steals.
Sikeston will play at Jackson on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.